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Oil gains, shrugs off weak China manufacturing

BANGKOK (AP) — The price of oil rose Monday, shrugging off a decline in China's manufacturing that was likely partly due to Lunar New Holiday distortions.

Benchmark crude for April delivery was up 31 cents to $93.44 a barrel at late afternoon Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 29 cents to settle at $93.13 in New York on Friday.

Oil dived last week on ample supplies and the possibility of a stronger dollar if the U.S. Federal Reserve started to withdraw monetary stimulus which its most recently released minutes suggested was possible.

The price of crude stabilized Friday, helped by the European Commission's prediction that the recession afflicting the economy of the 17 countries sharing the euro to bottom out during the first half of the year.

In China, a survey released Monday showed manufacturing declined to a four-month low in February, a reminder of possible threats to recovery in the world's second biggest economy.

However, some analysts said the result may not be as bad as it seems because of the weeklong Lunar New Year holiday, which fell in mid-February this year.

Brent crude was up 52 cents on the ICE futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline was up 3.1 cents at $3.297 a gallon.

— Heating oil added 1.5 cents to $3.117 a gallon.

— Natural gas rose 6.3 cents to $3.354 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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