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Oil extends gains above $87 after China manufacturing grows for first time in 13 months

In this March 6, 2012 photo a pumping unit sucks oil from the ground near Greensburg, Kan. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Charlie Riedel

BANGKOK - The price of oil rose Thursday after preliminary data showed China's manufacturing activity expanded for the first time in 13 months, a positive sign for the global economy.

Benchmark crude for January delivery was up 17 cents to $87.55 per barrel at midday Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 63 cents to finish at $87.38 a barrel on Wednesday.

Oil prices were responding to the release of HSBC Corp.'s monthly Purchasing Managers' Index for November, which showed a reading of 50.4 on a 100-point scale on which numbers over 50 indicate expansion.

That was a moderate improvement from October's 49.5 and boosted hopes that the world's No. 2 economy was finally emerging from the deep slump it has been mired in since the 2008 financial crisis.

"I think that number encouraged the traders to bet on rising oil prices," said Ken Hasegawa, energy analyst at Newedge brokerage in Tokyo.

Brent crude, used to price international varieties of oil, rose 3 cents to $110.89 a barrel in London.

In other energy futures trading in New York:

— Heating oil gained 3.3 cents to $3.081 a gallon.

— Wholesale gasoline rose 0.4 cent to $2.724 a gallon.

— Natural gas fell 6.7 cents to $3.899 per 1,000 cubic feet.



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