Brent‘s oil futures held near $112 a barrel today, following a positive economic data from the US and China, which are the top two oil consumers in the world.

Brent crude dropped by four cents to $111.57 a barrel, while US crude increased by five cents to settle at $97.70 a barrel, reported Reuters.

The world’s second largest oil consumer China’s trade surplus widened in November 2013 to the largest in more than four years, as exports exceeded estimates, in a sign of global demand helping sustain an economic recovery.

The surplus of $33.8bn was the biggest since January 2009, the data from the General Administration of Customs showed in Beijing on Sunday.

The data reflects an improvement in shipments to the US, Europe and South Korea.

Stronger demand from abroad may give Chinese Premier Li Keqiang room to implement reforms to increase the role of markets in the economy and meet a goal of reducing the nation’s reliance on exports in favour of domestic consumption.

The US released its economic data on Friday and revealed that the jobless rate fell last month to its lowest since November 2008.

Investors are waiting for the next policy meeting which is scheduled for 17-18 December, fuelling speculation that the Fed might act.

Support for oil prices also came thanks to news from Transcanada that the Keystone pipeline would be in service by next month to deliver crude from the US storage hub of Cushing, Oklahoma, to refining markets.

Brent value increased in the early session, as North Sea oil producers halted production as a major storm headed towards mainland Europe in what meteorologists warned could be the worst weather to hit the continent in years.

Image: Brent holds near $112 – the chance of a move by the Fed offsets upbeat data. Photo courtesy of