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UPDATE 3-Brent oil steadies above $111 on upbeat U.S., China data

Christopher Johnson
Monday, 9 Dec 2013 | 4:47 AM ET

* Robust China trade data brightens outlook for demand

* Chinese crude oil imports up in November

* U.S. jobs data stokes concerns Fed will curb stimulus soon

* Coming up: U.S. employment trends data at 1500 GMT

(Updates throughout, changes dateline, previous SINGAPORE)

LONDON, Dec 9 (Reuters) - Brent crude steadied above $111 a barrel on Monday, underpinned by upbeat economic data from the United States and China, the world's two biggest oil consumers.

Brent futures were down 10 cents at $111.51 a barrel by 0930 GMT, after rising more than $1 in the previous session. U.S. crude rose 20 cents to $97.85, after ending Friday with its largest weekly percentage gain since July 5.

"Oil continues to draw support from bullish macro sentiment following decent U.S. payrolls figures and strong trade data from China," VTB Capital oil strategist Andrey Kryuchenkov said.

Ben Le Brun, market analyst at OptionsXpress, agreed:

"The United States and China are two big growth engines of the world economy, so any improvement in terms of their economies is going to reflect well in future crude oil demand," Le Brun said.

Chinese trade figures on Sunday showed exports well above forecasts in November, rising 12.7 percent from a year earlier, while imports up 5.3 percent added to recent signs that economic growth is stabilising.

Crude imports by China, the world's second-largest consumer, reached 23.56 million tonnes in November, or 5.73 million barrels per day (bpd), up 19.1 percent from the previous month on a daily basis.

U.S. data released on Friday showed the jobless rate fell last month to its lowest since November 2008, fuelling speculation that the Federal Reserve might act when it holds its next policy meeting on Dec. 17-18.

But the prospect that a strengthening U.S. economy could persuade the Federal Reserve to begin curbing its commodity-friendly stimulus dragged on prices.

Weather-related oil production losses provided price support.

North Sea oil producers cut output and moved staff from some platforms as a major storm blasted toward mainland Europe in what meteorologists warned could be the worst weather to hit the continent in years.

"Potential North Sea production cuts due to severe weather in Europe could see Brent perform better this week," analysts at ANZ said in a note. Brent rose 1.7 percent last week.

Cold weather also dented oil and gas production in the United States and could further crimp output in top crude-producing states, such as Texas and North Dakota.

(Additional reporting by Manash Goswami and Jessica Jaganathan in Singapore; Editing by Dale Hudson)