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Oil prices edge higher

05 August 2013, 12:11

Singapore - Oil prices turned higher in Asian trade Monday on due to confidence in Chinese economy but the downward trend in the United States jobs market capped gains, analysts said.

New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for delivery in September, gained 30 cents to $107.24 a barrel in afternoon trade, and Brent North Sea crude for September rose 25 cents to $109.20.

Banking giant HSBC said Monday its purchasing managers' index (PMI) for the services industry in China stood at 51.3 in July, unchanged from June.

A reading above 50 indicates growth, while anything below signals contraction.

China's official non-manufacturing PMI, released over the weekend, came in at 54.1 in July, from 53.9 in the previous month.

"The HSBC purchasing managers' index for the services industry in China remains in an expansionary region, and this has provided support for crude prices," Lee Chen Hoay, investment analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore, told AFP.


Prices however remained under pressure over concerns about demand in the United States after a lacklustre US jobs report last week.

The Labor Department on Friday said the United States added 162,000 jobs in July, well below the 175,000 expected on average by analysts. The unemployment rate fell to 7.4 percent from 7.6 percent in June.

"The mixed US jobs report came in weaker than expected and that has created a somewhat bearish sentiment about demand for crude," Desmond Chua, market analyst at CMC Markets in Singapore, told AFP.

Oil prices had rallied last week on the back of strong manufacturing data from oil guzzlers the US and China, with Brent crude reaching a near four-month high above $110 a barrel before giving way in the wake of Friday's US employment data.



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