Oil prices increased today following data showing the US manufacturing sector expanded last month at its fastest pace for two and a half years, after positive Chinese data.

Brent crude was unchanged at $111.45 a barrel, while US crude grew by 25 cents to $94.07, reported Reuters.

Prices increased after US factory activity hit a 2½-year high in November and an increase in construction spending in October.

Institute for Supply Management (ISM) data revealed that the index of national factory activity increased to 57.3 in November – the highest since April 2011 – from 56.4 in October. October’s reading outstripped forecasts of 55 and was the sixth consecutive month of growth in the goods-producing sector since a contraction in May.

The prices also got a boost after news that Russian oil companies Lukoil and Rosneft cancelled the loading of two Urals cargoes from the Baltic ports of Primorsk and Ust-Luga.

But the prices are expected to reduce in future as Ministers from Saudi Arabia and Algeria pointed out at a OPEC members meeting in Vienna that the oil group was likely to keep its production target of 30 million barrels per day unchanged for the first half of 2014.

US Energy Information Administration data revealed that last week crude oil inventories increased by three million barrels for the week to 22 November.

Investors are waiting for the US third-quarter GDP and non-farm payrolls for November data, which is scheduled for Thursday and Friday respectively.

This data gives investors an idea about whether improvements in the US economy could prompt the Federal Reserve to announce tapering of its monetary stimulus at its meeting on 17-18 December.

Energy