Light, sweet crude futures for delivery in September traded at $102.93 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange and were down $0.18 in the Globex electronic session, Market Watch reports. Meanwhile, September Brent crude on London's ICE Futures exchange rose $0.03 to $108.06 a barrel.
Data released earlier showed that China's HSBC Flash Purchasing Managers Index increased to an 18-month high of 52.0 in July from a final reading of 50.7 in June. Analysts had expected the index to rise to only 51.0 this month.
The oil gained overnight after stocks fell significantly in the week of July 18 by almost 4 million barrels, which exceeded the market expectations of 2.5 million barrels, indicating a strong demand.
Societe Generale said in a report, "In the short term we expect U.S. crude runs to hold steady at peak summer levels. However, if refining margins continue to fall, fast run cuts cannot be ruled out," according to Market Watch.
Wednesday's weekly supply data showed that the total motor gasoline inventories in the U.S. rose by 3.4 million barrels last week, which was greater than the predicted 1.3 million. This unexpected increase in gasoline stocks during the summer driving season was bearish for oil prices, reports NASDAQ.
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