SINGAPORE- Oil prices rose in Asian trade Monday, boosted by robust Chinese export data and a solid US jobs report that boosted hopes for a pick-up in demand, analysts said.
US benchmark, West Texas Intermediate for July delivery, gained 20 cents to $102.86 a barrel in afternoon trade, while Brent North Sea crude for July rose eight cents to $108.69.
China’s trade surplus surged in May, official data showed Sunday, as export growth accelerated sharply while imports saw a surprise fall.
Exports from the world’s second biggest economy increased seven percent to $195.47 billion year-on-year, while imports declined 1.6 percent to $159.55 billion. This resulted in a trade surplus of $35.92 billion, up 74.9 percent year on year.
“The weekend report comes as a quite unexpected surprise on the upside, underpinning the demand for commodities,” Desmond Chua, an analyst at CMC Markets in Singapore, told AFP.
In Washington on Friday the Labor Department said the US economy added a net 217,000 jobs in May, in line with expectations and marking the fourth straight month above 200,000. The figures are the latest in a string of data out of the United States indicating a recovery is well on track.
China and the United States are the world’s biggest energy users and any sign of improvement in their economies lifts expectations of a rise in demand for oil.
Investors are keeping an eye on Ukraine after its new Western-friendly President Petro Poroshenko vowed to end the fighting with pro-Russia separatist rebels in the east.
Investors fear a full-blown conflict in the ex-Soviet state, a conduit for a quarter of European gas imports from Russia, will disrupt supplies and send energy prices soaring.