The price of oil was slightly higher Monday, inching above $100 a barrel, as investors weighed escalating tensions in Ukraine against a fourth month of contraction in China's manufacturing sector.
By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark U.S. crude for June delivery was up 42 cents to $100.18 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Friday, the Nymex contract rose 34 cents to settle at $99.76.
Brent crude, a benchmark for international varieties of oil, was down 11 cents to $108.48 on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
Violence flared in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slovyansk on Monday, as 4 officers were killed and 30 wounded in gunbattles with pro-Russia militants, according to the Interior Ministry.
Concerns are mounting that if the conflict spirals further it could force the U.S. and Europe to strengthen sanctions against Russia, which Ukraine accuses of fomenting unrest in its Russian-speaking eastern regions. Russia is a major supplier of natural gas and oil to Europe.
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