* U.S. economic data lifts crude on both sides of Atlantic
* Weak data on China's factory output weighed on oil prices
* Saudi Arabia pumps 10 million bpd in July
(Updates prices to settlement)
By Anna Louie Sussman and Robert Gibbons
NEW YORK, Aug 21 U.S. and Brent crude futures
rose on Thursday, lifted by supportive economic data from the
United States after a plentiful supply picture and Chinese
economic data had earlier pressured prices.
Sales of existing U.S. homes rose to a 10-month high in July
and the number of initial jobless claims fell last week,
signaling third-quarter strength in the economy.
Separate reports on Thursday showing factory activity in the
mid-Atlantic region in August at its highest level since March
2011, and a gauge of future economic activity up solidly last
month, added to the hopes for improving demand for oil.
"U.S. crude might have a gotten a little ahead of itself to
the downside recently given the strong demand from U.S. refiners
and the relative of strength of the U.S. economy, as this
morning's data show," said John Kilduff, partner at Again
The world's top crude oil benchmarks have both fallen more
than $10 a barrel since June on a build-up of supply in the
Atlantic Basin and continued production from Iraq and Libya
despite the risk of supply disruption from the region's
U.S. October crude futures rose 51 cents to settle at
$93.96 a barrel, reversing earlier losses that sent prices to
$92.50, the lowest since Jan. 15.
The U.S. September contract expired on Wednesday at $96.07,
up $1.59 on the day and with the premium of the front-month over
the nearby contract CLc1-CLc2 reaching $3.12 intraday.
Data showing a large drop in U.S. crude inventories last
week and refinery capacity use at a robust 93.4 percent helped
spark Wednesday's rally.
Brent October crude on Thursday rose 35 cents to
settle at $102.63, up from its session low of $101.21. Brent
fell to $101.07 on Tuesday, its lowest since June 26, 2013, the
same month it was last traded under $100 a barrel.
A survey of China's factory activity showed that growth in
the sector slowed to a three-month low in August, pressuring oil
prices early on Thursday and fueling concerns about a soft
economy dampening demand for oil in the world's second-largest
Along with worries about demand, increasing supplies from
OPEC member nations has eased fears of supply disruptions.
Libya has resumed exports from its largest port, helping
lift oil production to its highest in months, while Saudi Arabia
raised its output in July to 10 million barrels per day (bpd).
"Supply fears have been quelled by an increased export
volume from Libya," said Dorian Lucas, an analyst at energy
As Brent's retreat neared $100, there was talk that OPEC
could consider cutting output, although delegates from the
producer group have said higher seasonal demand in coming weeks
is expected to support the market.
(Additional reporting by Robert Gibbons in New York,
Christopher Johnson and Henning Gloystein in London Florence Tan
in Singapore; Editing by Marguerita Choy)