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China's trade deficit tempers oil market

March 12, 2012 at 7:04 PM

NEW YORK, March 12 (UPI) -- Crude oil prices hovered near $106 Monday in New York on mixed economic news from China.

China reported a trade deficit of $31.38 billion, but The New York Times reported the Bank of China has said lending restrictions might be eased, which would stimulate demand.

April delivery light sweet crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange lost 28 cents to reach $106.55 per barrel. Home heating oil added 0.91 cents to $3.252 per gallon. Reformulated gasoline gained 0.7 cents to $3.32 per gallon.

Henry Hub natural gas prices gained 0.1 cents to $2.27 per million British thermal units.

The national average price of unleaded gasoline was $3.801 per gallon Monday, up from Sunday's $3.792, AAA said.

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