Brent crude oil rose above $109 a barrel today due to encouraging trade data from China, as well as US employment figures.

Reuters reported that Brent was up 50 cents at $109.11 while US oil increased 50 cents to $103.16 a barrel.

The improved demand outlook is supporting the oil market, which is already bolstered by supply disruption worries over uncertainty in Libyan exports and the crisis in Ukraine.

China’s exports increased in May 2014 with a 7% rise compared with 2013.

"China’s exports increased in May 2014 with a 7% rise compared with 2013."

The strong gains overshadowed an unanticipated decline in imports that may signal weaker domestic demand, Reuters said.

The news agency said the Chinese data followed US figures that showed employment returning to its pre-recession peak, confirming steady improvement in the world’s top economy.

US jobs rose above 200,000 in May 2014 and the data helped Asian shares to reach their highest levels in about three years.

China imported 26.08 million tonnes of crude oil in May 2014, increasing total shipments in the first five months of the year to 128.7 million tonnes.

Reuters said China’s slackening economy has blunted its oil demand, which declined to a seven-month low in April 2014 due to scaled-back production of refineries for maintenance.

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