Crude oil for October recovered some lost ground Thursday morning, topping $104 per barrel, as a business index for China tipped back into positive territory.
Markit Economics in a flash estimate said China's purchasing managers index for manufacturing rose from 47.7 in July to 50.1 in August, with 50 the break-even point between growth and contraction.
Xinhua reported that China's inventories of gasoline and distillate fuels dropped in July. Gasoline stockpiles fell 7.2 percent from June, Xinhua reported.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude added 38 cents to reach $104.23 per barrel. Reformulated blendstock gasoline added 0.89 cents to reach $2.8273 per gallon. Home heating oil gained 0.42 cents to reach $3.0857 per gallon.
Natural gas gained 3.5 cents to $3.495 per million British thermal units.
At the pump, the national average price for a gallon of unleaded regular gasoline was $3.534, up from Wednesday's $3.533, the AAA Fuel Gauge report said.