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Oil rises above $103 after China reports improvement in manufacturing

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Oil prices rose Monday on the prospect of increased demand from China after data showed an improvement in manufacturing.

Benchmark U.S. oil for July delivery was up 58 cents to US$103.29 a barrel at 2:30 a.m. ET in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 87 cents to close at $102.71 on Friday.

Chinese data showed Sunday that manufacturing grew for the third consecutive month in May, suggesting a slowdown in the world's second-largest economy is stabilizing.

The China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said that its monthly manufacturing index rose to 50.8 points in May on a 100-point scale on which numbers above 50 show activity expanding. It was the index's highest level this year.

Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, added 34 cents to $109.75 a barrel in London.

Traders are focused on U.S. jobs data set to be released later in the week that could prop up expectations for higher demand.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline inched up 1.3 cents to $2.985 a gallon.

— Natural gas rose 2.7 cents to $4.569 per 1,000 cubic feet.

— Heating oil gained 0.7 cent to $2.895 a gallon.

(TSX:ECA, TSX:IMO, TSX:SU, TSX:HSE, NYSE:BP, NYSE:COP, NYSE:XOM, NYSE:CVX, TSX:CNQ, TSX:TLM, TSX:COS.UN, TSX:CVE)

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