Brent crude oil climbed above $112 on Thursday morning after Chinese data beat expectations and gave the markets hope that oil demand would increase in the months to come. The commodity traded at $112.30 on Thursday morning.
Brent is expected to hold steady near $112 until the results of the European Central Bank meeting and US jobs data is released, both scheduled for Thursday afternoon.
Chinese trade data showed that China's economy was well on its way to recovery. The higher than expected numbers confirmed hopes that the second largest oil consumer's economy was picking up. According to Reuters, export values grew 14.1 percent in December, shattering analysts' prediction of four percent annual growth. Import values grew by 6 percent, doubling the expected three percent forecast. Crude oil imports fell in line with predictions and increased by 6.8 percent. The positive data give Brent a lift, but gains were limited as markets waited for ECB President Mario Draghi's press conference at the close of the bank's monthly meeting. Recently, the eurozone seems to have stabilized, something Draghi is sure to draw on at the news conference. Most are expecting the ECB to maintain the current interest rate, but the big question remains as to whether or not the region's Finance Ministers are considering cutting it later in the year. Data from the US is also expected to drive Brent prices later in the afternoon, as the nation will announce last week's jobless claims. The data is expected to offer some insight on the number one oil consumer's economic health.
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