Crude oil prices gained in Asia, shrugging off poor flash manufacturing estimates on China and generally bearish news on the supply outlook as investors bet on a rebound after a series of sharp falls and looked ahead to rig count data in the U.S.

The Markit/Caixin survey of China manufacturing showed a decline to 48.2 a 15-month-low, and well below the expected 49.7 and off from June’s final of 49.4. Final data is due in August.

The flash reading suggests manufacturing conditions may be deteriorating and will raise questions about the resilience of the economic recovery despite Beijing’s confidence for a better second half.

Otherwise, China markets were relatively calm following a report in the UK press that $800 billion has fled the country as a systemic crisis brews.

© Reuters.  NYMEX crude rebounds in Asia

London’s Daily Telegraph cited research reports showing a “frighteningly large” $800 billion has flowed out of China over the past year, as the forces which saw Chinese reserves top out at nearly $4 trillion unwind at a rapid and dangerous pace.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, WTI crude for September delivery rose 0.64% at $48.76 a barrel.

Overnight, WTI crude fell on Thursday settling below $50 a barrel, as concerns related to the Iranian Nuclear Pact and a glut of oversupply in energy markets worldwide remained in focus.

On the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), Brent crude for September delivery wavered between $55.12 and $56.52 before closing at $55.24 a barrel, down 0.89 or 1.57% on Thursday.

Traders continued to digest a surprising inventory build last week. In its weekly Petroleum Status Report on Wednesday, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) saidU.S. crude inventories rose by 2.5 million barrels for the week ending on July 17.

Analysts expected a draw of 2.2 million barrels on the week. Crude inventories nationwide are now at 463.9 million barrels the highest level at this time of year in at least 80 years. At the Cushing Oil Hub in Oklahoma, the main delivery point for NYMEX oil, its crude inventory increased by 813,000 last week, above expectations for a 300,000 build.

A rise in U.S. stockpiles is viewed as bearish for WTI crude prices as supply continues to outstrip demand. While U.S. crude output fell slightly by 4,000 barrels per day to 9.558 million last week, production levels still remain near 40-year highs. Global supply has hovered near record-levels since Opec decided to keep it production ceiling above 30 million barrels per day last November.

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