[SINGAPORE] Oil prices edged up on Thursday, partially recovering from price falls of 2.5 to 4 per cent a day earlier as US stockpiles rose for the first time in months on the back of high production.
Following a 4.2 per cent drop on Wednesday, front-month US crude futures were trading at US$57.07 per barrel at 0628 GMT, up 11 cents from their last settlement.
Heading into the second half of the year, US crude has been testing support on the lower range of a US$57-62 per barrel price channel, where it has been trading since early May. "We ... expect this support level to hold," Singapore-based Phillip Futures said, arguing that this week's bearish factors had already been priced into the market.
Brent crude futures were trading at US$62.27 per barrel, up 26 cents after dropping 2.5 per cent in the previous session. Yet the contract remains on a downwards trend that has been in place since early May and which has seen prices fall more than 8 per cent.
The tumble in US crude the previous day came after government data showed inventories rose by 2.4 million barrels last week, marking the first weekly build since April.
The stock build came on the back of strong US production. "Overall, production was supported by increased output from the Gulf of Mexico," Barclays said following the publication of the data.
The higher US output added to an ongoing glut in global production.
Outside the United States, supply from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) rose to a three-year high of 31.60 million barrels per day (bpd) in June, up from 31.30 million bpd in May.
In Russia, government data showed on Thursday that oil for exports by ship - not pipeline - rose to 2.852 million bpd in June, up from 2.512 million bpd the previous month.