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Oil above $88 amid signs of Asia economic strength
Oil rises above $88 in Asia amid signs of improving economies in Japan, China
By The Associated Press

SINGAPORE (AP) ' Oil prices rose above $88 a barrel Monday in Asia amid signs of resilience in the economies of Japan and China.

Benchmark crude for December delivery was up 65 cents at $88.05 a barrel at midday Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $1.33 to settle at $87.40 in New York on Friday.

Brent crude was up 70 cents at $110.26 a barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange in London.

Japan's Finance Ministry said Monday that exports rose 2.4 percent in September from a year earlier, marking the second consecutive month of growth as the country recovers from the March earthquake and tsunami.

Meanwhile, HSBC said Monday that its preliminary China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index, which measures industrial production, rose to 51.1 from 49.9 in September. A result above 50 indicates an expansion from the previous month. The preliminary indicator is often subject to substantial revision.

The Chinese and Japanese data also helped to boost Asian stock markets Monday.

Investors are also closely watching for clues about a plan to contain Europe's debt crisis. European leaders didn't give details of the plan after meeting Sunday but are expected to do so Wednesday.

"Oil is moving tick-for-tick with global equity markets, which in turn, are gyrating with the latest headline handicapping the euro bailout fund," energy trader and consultant The Schork Group said in a report.

In other Nymex trading, heating oil rose 1.6 cents to $3.03 per gallon and gasoline futures jumped 2.1 cents at $2.68 per gallon. Natural gas slid 0.4 cent to $3.63 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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