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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Oil rises to near $103 a barrel on stronger growth in China exports

Oil prices rose Monday after China's exports rose in May, auguring stronger demand from manufacturers in the world's second-largest economy.

Benchmark U.S. oil for July delivery was up 16 cents to US$102.82 a barrel at 2:15 a.m. ET in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract closed Friday up 18 cents at $102.66.

Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, was up 9 cents to $107.95 a barrel in London.

China reported Sunday 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.

Although imports fell, suggesting weaker demand within China, the surge in exports reinforced confidence that the U.S. and European recoveries will drive stronger demand for commodities, including oil.

U.S. employment figures released Friday 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 was up 0.3 cent at $2.942 a gallon.

— Natural gas rose 2.2 cents to $4.732 per 1,000 cubic feet.

— Heating oil was little changed at 42.871 a gallon.

(TSX:ECA, TSX:IMO, TSX:SU, TSX:HSE, NYSE:BP, NYSE:COP, NYSE:XOM, NYSE:CVX, TSX:CNQ, TSX:TLM, TSX:COS.UN, TSX:CVE)

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