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Oil price shows strong gains as China manufacturing improves

AP-- 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, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' (OPEC) second-largest exporter.

Benchmark U.S. crude for August delivery was up 31 cents to US$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 US$107.26 on June 20 and lost 37 cents on Monday.

Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, climbed 27 cents to US$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 US$3.047 a gallon.

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

-Heating oil added 0.5 cents to US$2.981 a gallon.

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