Oil mixed in Asia
SINGAPORE–Oil was mixed in Asia on Friday 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 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, the head of premium client management at IG Markets in Singapore.
Crude prices hit three-month highs on Thursday 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 percent to $231.1 billion in 2012, though total trade volume grew at a much slower pace in the face of economic weakness at home and abroad, official data showed Thursday.
The country’s exports rose 7.9 percent to $2.05 trillion from the year before, while imports increased 4.3 percent to $1.82 trillion, the national customs bureau said.
News of a crude production cut 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.
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