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Oil prices edged up after recent losses
[SINGAPORE] Oil prices edged up in Asia on Thursday, lifted by bargain-hunting following a sharp decline the day before, although analysts said the market remains hobbled by an oversupply of the commodity.
A report released Wednesday showing a bigger-than-expected increase in US crude stockpiles has stoked fresh worries about a global glut that has depressed oil prices for more than a year.
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for delivery in December rose 25 cents to US$45.45 and Brent crude for December climbed 21 cents to US$48.06 a barrel at around 0300 GMT.
The rebound followed Wednesday's steep fall after the US Energy Information Administration said the country's commercial crude-oil inventories jumped by eight million barrels to 476.6 million in the week ending October 16.
The increase, which typically indicates weaker demand in the world's number one economy, was more than double market expectations.
Oil prices took a hit at the start of the week when China said gross domestic product grew in the third quarter at its slowest pace in more than six years.
"Worries about the health of the Chinese economy continue to batter commodities prices. In the US, crude stockpiles surged ... and supply glut remains a concern," said Sanjeev Gupta, who heads the Asia Pacific oil and gas practice at professional services firm EY.
Mr Gupta said a meeting between Opec and non-Opec oil producers on Wednesday "did not produce any meaningful results as no potential production cuts were addressed".
Russia had said it was prepared to discuss a reduction with members of the cartel at the meeting in Vienna.
Mr Gupta said the market will be looking at a December 4 policy-setting meeting of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries which is expected to "provide vital clues about price development in the medium term".
Opec, which includes Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, has maintained high production levels despite the oil price decline, as members seek to maintain market share.