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Oil prices edge up after losses

India will make a US$700 million oil payment to Iran on Wednesday, sources said, the first release of such funds after the July deal that sets the roadmap for the lifting of sanctions aimed at Tehran's nuclear activities.

[HONG KONG] Oil prices edged up Thursday after taking a hit in the previous session in response to a mixed US stockpiles report, but analysts warned that headwinds remained in place for the under-pressure commodity.

Concerns about a slowdown in the global economy, particularly key energy consumer China, combined with an oversupply have seen crude prices tumble more than 60 per cent from last year's peaks above US$100 a barrel.

Prices took another hit Wednesday when the US Department of Energy (DoE) said output at home rose 19,000 barrels per day to 9.136 million, snapping a six-week run of lower production.

The news came hours after it was announced that a gauge of factory activity in China had hit a six-and-a-half-year low in September - overshadowing figures showing US commercial crude inventories sank 1.9 million barrels in the week ending September 18.

Both main contracts edged up in electronic trade Thursday. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate was 0.90 per cent higher at US$44.88 a barrel, while Brent crude added 0.67 per cent to US$48.07.

However, David Lennox, an analyst at Fat Prophets in Sydney, told Bloomberg News: "All the factors that sent oil lower are still there.

"Oil seems to be holding in a range but the market really needs to see sustainable cuts to production."