Brent crude oil traded near $108 on Thursday morning after unexpectedly strong Chinese data suggested rising global demand.
The commodity traded at $107.86 at 8:30 GMT on Thursday.
Data out on Thursday showed that China’s HSBC preliminary manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index increased to 52 in July from just 50.7 in June. The figure marks China’s strongest PMI score in 18 months and suggests that Beijing’s mini-stimulus plan is taking effect.
The figure was positive for oil markets, as it suggested that the world’s second largest consumer’s crude appetite may pick up.
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Crude was also supported by data from the U.S., which showed that the nation’s crude stocks declined by 4 million barrels last week. The data, released by the Energy Information Administration on Wednesday, beat analyst expectations of just a 2.8 million barrel decline.
Instability in several parts of the world was also supportive for crude, with conflicts in the Middle East, Africa and Eastern Europe all threatening to disrupt supplies. In Ukraine, international outrage over the downed Malaysian Airlines jet failed to stop the fighting, and two Ukrainian fighter jets were shot down in nearly the same location on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, an international investigation into the Malaysian Airlines plane continued, and according to CNBC, a Ukrainian rebel leader has confirmed that the pro-Moscow separatists do have an anti-aircraft missile system that is suspected to have been used in the passenger plane shooting.
Fighting also raged on in Gaza despite U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s best efforts to broker a ceasefire. Israel continued to fend off Hamas militants and destroy cross border tunnels, but at the expense of civilians who are caught in the crossfire.
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