Crude oil futures edged lower on Thursday, despite data showing that manufacturing activity in China expanded at the fastest pace in 18 months in July.

On the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil for September delivery shed 0.09%, or 10 cents, to trade at $107.93 a barrel during European morning hours.

Data released earlier showed that China’s HSBC Flash Purchasing Managers Index rose to an 18-month high of 52.0 in July from a final reading of 50.7 in June. Analysts had expected the index to rise to 51.0 this month.

Meanwhile, traders awaited new developments from Ukraine and the Middle East.

Pro-Russian rebels shot down two Ukrainian fighter jets on Wednesday, not far from where the Malaysian Airlines passenger plane was brought down in eastern Ukraine late last week.

In Gaza, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday that efforts to secure a truce between Israel and Hamas had made some progress.

Elsewhere, on the New York Mercantile Exchange, U.S. crude oil for delivery in September dipped 0.22%, or 23 cents, to trade at $102.90 a barrel.

Weekly supply data released Wednesday showed that total motor gasoline inventories in the U.S. increased by 3.4 million barrels last week, above forecasts for a gain of 1.3 million barrels.

The larger than expected increase in gasoline stocks during the summer driving season in the U.S. was bearish for oil prices.

Later in the day, the U.S. was to produce data on unemployment claims, manufacturing activity and new home sales, amid ongoing speculation over when the Federal Reserve may start to raise interest rates.

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