Oil price gains to near $106 a barrel after surveys show China manufacturing improvement

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The price of oil rose Tuesday on expectations for stronger demand following an improvement in manufacturing activity in China, the world’s biggest oil importer.

A rise in the value of the U.S. dollar added to upward pressure on the price, along with the continued turmoil in Iraq, OPEC’s second-largest exporter.

Benchmark U.S. crude for August delivery was up 31 cents to $105.68 a barrel at 0515 GMT in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract had fallen four trading days in a row after closing at a 10-month high of $107.26 on June 20 and lost 37 cents on Monday.

Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, climbed 27 cents to $112.63 a barrel in London.

Oil prices have risen in recent weeks on concerns that violence in Iraq, OPEC’s second-largest exporter, would cut global supplies. They stabilized late last week as the stunning initial advance by insurgents lost momentum.

In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:

—Wholesale gasoline edged up 0.4 cents to $3.047 a gallon.

—Natural gas fell 2.1 cents to $4.44 per 1,000 cubic feet.

—Heating oil added 0.5 cent to $2.981 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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