BANGKOK -- Oil prices rose Thursday, propelled by a rebound in China's trade growth and an encouraging start to the U.S. corporate earnings season.
Benchmark crude for February delivery was up 39 cents to $93.49 per barrel at midday Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract slipped 5 cents to end at $93.10 per barrel in New York on Wednesday on the heels of rising U.S. crude supplies.
Data released Thursday showed China's export growth in December more than quadrupled from the previous month to 14 percent. Imports rose 6 percent, after failing to grow at all in November, in a sign of increasing domestic demand.
The data was a boost for energy prices, since a pickup in economic activity in the world's second-largest economy could boost demand for oil.
In the U.S., corporate reporting season began with better-than-expected results. That helped lift stocks on Wall Street and in Asia, and energy prices tailgated on the gains.
Brent crude, used to price international varieties of oil, rose 6 cents to $111.82 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
In other energy futures trading on Nymex:
-- Wholesale gasoline was nearly unchanged at $2.778 a gallon.
-- Heating oil rose 0.5 cent to $3.075 a gallon.
-- Natural gas was up 2.5 cents to $3.138 per 1,000 cubic feet.