NEW YORK (AP) — Oil prices on Monday climbed to the highest level in more than a month on signs of economic growth in the U.S. and Asia.
Benchmark crude rose $3, or 3.5 percent, to $90.41 per barrel at midday in New York. Prices haven't been above $90 per barrel since Sept. 15. Brent crude rose $1.40 to $110.86 a barrel in London.
Prices rose as a string of acquisitions and a better profit forecast from Caterpillar sparked a rally on Wall Street. Major stock indexes were up more than 1 percent. The Nasdaq was up 2 percent.
HSBC said that China's manufacturing sector continues to expand. The bank's measure of industrial production showed Chinese manufacturing activity increased from last month. Energy demand tends to rise as factories crank into a higher gear, and analysts took the report as a sign that China, the second biggest oil consumer behind the U.S., will continue to drive increases in world oil demand this year.
Japan said exports rose 2.4 percent last month, as its economy recovers from the devastating earthquake and tsunami in March.
Gasoline pump prices fell less than a penny on Monday to a national average of $3.451 per gallon, according to AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service. A gallon of regular has fallen more than 53 cents since peaking near $4 per gallon in May. It's still about 63 cents higher than it was a year ago.
In other energy trading, heating oil rose 3 cents at $3.0418 per gallon and gasoline futures increased 2 cents to $2.6740 per gallon. Natural gas fell 1 cent to $3.619 per 1,000 cubic feet.