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Oil climbs above US$100 a barrel

The price of oil climbed above US$100 a barrel Monday as escalating tensions in Ukraine outweighed a fourth month of contraction in China's manufacturing.

Benchmark U.S. crude for June delivery was up 34 cents to US$100.10 a barrel at 0725 GMT in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 34 cents to settle at US$99.76 on Friday.

Brent crude, a benchmark for international varieties of oil, gained 11 cents to US$108.70 on the ICE exchange in London.

Violence flared in Ukraine on Sunday as a mob of protesters outraged by the deaths of pro-Russian activists stormed police headquarters in the Black Sea port city of Odessa, smashing doors, windows and security cameras before police freed dozens of their jailed allies.

Concerns are mounting that if the conflict spirals further it could force the U.S. and Europe to strengthen sanctions against Russia, which Ukraine accuses of fomenting unrest in its Russian-speaking eastern regions. Russia is a major supplier of natural gas and oil to Europe.

China's factory activity contracted again last month, according to HSBC's purchasing manager index, and the pace of the decline was more severe than a preliminary version of the report indicated. The PMI results underscore the continuing slowdown in the world's second biggest economy, which could mean lower energy demand.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline rose 0.4 cents to US$2.95 a gallon.

— Heating oil added 0.4 cent to US$2.926 a gallon

— Natural gas rose 0.3 cent to US$4.677 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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