Manufacturing data sends crude prices higher
Crude oil prices were higher Wednesday after the Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing index was up to 56.3 in August, from 55.5 in July and better than the decline to 52.8 which had been expected by analysts, indicating that manufacturing activity in the US expanded last month.
A separate report from China’s Federation of Logistics and Purchasing showed its purchasing managers index was at 51.7 last month from 51.2 in July, indicating that China’s factory activity also expanded during the month, raising hopes that demand for oil and oil products will continue to grow.
October contracts for West Texas Intermediate crude were up $2.34 to $74.26 per barrel in afternoon trade on the New York mercantile exchange, while Brent crude was last reported $1.94 higher to $76.58 per barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London.
The US Energy Information Administration, in its weekly report on US inventories, said that crude oil stockpiles grew by 3.4 million barrels last week, to 361.7 million barrels, 18.3 million barrels above the same time last year and more of an advance than was expected.
Gasoline and distillates inventories, however, both declined, with the decline of 700,000 barrels in distillates in storage a decline against an expected 1 million barrel rise, but the 200,000 barrel decline in gasoline stockpiles was less than expected.
Nymex October gasoline futures were 4 cents higher to $1.90 per gallon while October heating oil futures added 6 cents to $2.05 per gallon, but October natural gas futures dropped 7 cents to $3.74 per million British thermal units.
The retail price of regular unleaded gasoline in the United States added just a bit overnight, to $2.678 per gallon ahead of the US Labor Day holiday this weekend, which is the traditional close of the summer driving season.
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