Oil rose to the highest level in three months in New York as exports from China, the world’s second-largest fuel consumer, accelerated in December.
Prices advanced as much as 1.7 percent after China’s customs agency reported overseas sales jumped 14.1 percent last month from a year earlier, exceeding the 5 percent median forecast in a Bloomberg survey. Saudi Arabia reduced oil production in December to a 19-month low, according to a Gulf official with knowledge of the kingdom’s energy policy.
“Oil is rising because of the good news from China, the growing exports,” said Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research in Winchester, Massachusetts. “It definitely gives a bullish flavor to the market. The Saudi Arabia news will reinforce the bullish mood.”
Crude oil for February delivery gained $1.04, or 1.1 percent, to $94.14 a barrel at 9:36 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange after climbing to $94.70, the highest intraday level since Sept. 19. Trading volume was more than double the 100-day average.
Brent oil for February settlement increased 88 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $112.64 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. Volume was 90 percent above the 100-day average.
China’s December trade surplus almost doubled from a year earlier to $31.6 billion, according to the Beijing-based General Administration of Customs. China’s exports rose 7.9 percent for all of 2012.