Oil May Rise as China Data Boosts Optimism, Survey Shows

Oil may rise next week after China’s exports jumped more than forecast last month, bolstering optimism growth will accelerate, a Bloomberg survey showed.

Fourteen of 28 analysts, or 50 percent, forecast crude will increase through Jan. 18. Nine respondents, or 32 percent, predicted a decline. Five forecast little change. Last week, 58 percent of analysts projected a gain.

China’s exports climbed 14.1 percent from a year earlier and the trade surplus almost doubled in the same period, the Beijing-based General Administration of Customs said. China imported 6.8 percent more oil in 2012 than 2011. The euro surged the most in four months versus the dollar yesterday as European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said the economy should gradually recover.

“Demand expectations are rising after China’s trade and oil import data,” said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at the Price Futures Group in Chicago. “The euro is also being supported by Mario Draghi’s comments about low inflation and more improvements in the euro-zone.”

Euro-zone inflation will probably decline to below 2 percent this year, Draghi told reporters in Frankfurt today after the ECB kept its benchmark interest rate at 0.75 percent.

The common currency climbed as much as 1.5 percent against the dollar to $1.3266. A stronger euro and weaker dollar increase oil’s appeal as an investment alternative.

The 27 members of the European Union accounted for 16 percent of global oil demand in 2011, according to BP Plc’s Statistical Review of World Energy. China, the largest consuming country after the U.S., used 11 percent of the world’s supply last year.

Oil increased 47 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $93.56 a barrel this week on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices are down 7.2 percent from this time last year.

The oil survey has correctly predicted the direction of futures 50 percent of the time since its start in April 2004.

     Bloomberg’s survey of oil analysts and traders, conducted
each Thursday, asks for an assessment of whether crude oil
futures are likely to rise, fall or remain neutral in the coming
week. The results were:

                    RISE      NEUTRAL    FALL
                     14          5         9
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