Crude oil was mixed in Asia today with some traders taking profits after stronger-than-expected trade data out of China, analysts said.
New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in February, gained 10 cents to $93.92 a barrel in the morning trade while Brent North Sea crude for February dropped 18 cents to $111.71.
“We’re seeing some profit-taking... after the ticking up of oil prices yesterday,” said Jason Hughes, head of premium client management at IG Markets in Singapore.
Crude prices hit a three-month high yesterday after a surge in China’s trade surplus sparked hopes that the world’s second-largest economy and biggest energy user was firing up again.
China’s trade surplus soared 48.1 per cent to $231.1 billion in 2012, though the total trade volume grew at a much slower pace in the face of economic weakness at home and abroad, official data showed yesterday.
The country’s exports rose 7.9 per cent to $2.05 trillion from the year before, while imports increased 4.3 per cent to $1.82 trillion, the national customs bureau said.
News of a cut in crude production by the world’s top oil exporter Saudi Arabia also supported prices, Phillip Futures said in a report.
The country slashed oil production by 700,000 barrels per day (bpd) to nine million bpd during the last two months of 2012, the report stated.