Benchmark US oil for July delivery gained USD 1.75 to close at USD 104.41 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That's the highest closing price since March 3. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, rose USD 1.29 to USD 109.15 a barrel in London.
China yesterday reported that exports rose 7 per cent in dollar terms in May, up from a 0.9 per cent increase in April that followed a slump in February and March. The surge in exports reinforced confidence that the US and European recoveries will drive stronger demand for commodities, including oil.
Japan raised its estimate for economic growth in the January-March quarter to 6.7 per cent from 5.9 per cent, as investment by companies was stronger than first thought.
On Friday, US employment figures also suggested stronger demand for oil. Employers added 217,000 jobs during May, the fourth straight month of decent growth. In other energy futures trading on Nymex: Wholesale gasoline gained 5 cents to USD 2.98 a gallon. Natural gas fell 7 cents to USD 4.65 per 1,000 cubic feet. Heating oil rose 2 cents to USD 2.89 a gallon.