Oil prices up in Asia
Oil prices rose in Asia Friday on news that China's manufacturing grew at its strongest pace in 18 months in October, analysts said.
Prices were subdued in the morning but edged higher in the afternoon after the release of the data, which indicate that the world's second biggest economy is emerging from a growth slowdown.
New York's main contract West Texas Intermediate (WTI) light sweet crude for December delivery advanced 12 cents to $96.50 in late afternoon trade, while Brent North Sea crude for December added 36 cents to $109.20.
"Prices turned around after the release of China's purchasing managers' index (PMI) for October showing continued expansion in manufacturing activity," said Victor Shum, managing director at IHS Purvin and Gertz energy consultants in Singapore.
"That report helped stop the slide in oil futures. Oil is up and it looks like a good-sized gain for today," he told AFP.
China's manufacturing PMI climbed to 51.4 last month from 51.1 in September, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on its website.
The reading was the highest since 53.3 in April 2012. Anything above 50 indicates expansion while a figure below signals contraction.
Shum said Brent prices were also supported by the uncertainty over Libya's oil production despite an announcement by its National Oil Corp that the Al-Harriga terminal will resume operations on Monday at the latest.
The terminal, which has a capacity of 110,000 barrels a day, has been closed along with several other terminals by protesters demanding jobs and a more equitable distribution of oil revenues.
Libyan crude production has been disrupted for several months by the labour unrest, and output slashed to as little as 300,000 barrels per day from 1.5 million-1.6 million before the showdown began.
Production had increased in recent weeks, but an uptick in protests has raised concerns about exports from the country.
"The problem with Libya is that there is no central authority looking after oil so production is often disrupted by protests. So Libyan oil output continues to struggle," Shum said.