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Oil prices stable after heavy losses
[LONDON] Oil prices steadied on Friday following strong losses over the week, as ample crude supplies show little signs of easing.
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for September delivery edged up 26 cents to US$48.21 a barrel.
The contract finished below US$49 on Thursday for the first time since March 31.
On Friday, Brent North Sea crude for September was down 14 cents at US$55.13 a barrel around midday in London. Earlier, it had struck a near four-month low at US$54.80.
"A combination of plentiful supply and concerns about demand is putting prices under pressure," Commerzbank analysts said in a note to clients on Friday.
Analysts have also said that the prospect of Iranian oil returning to the oversupplied market after Tehran recently reached a deal with major powers over its nuclear ambitions was dampening appetite.
The deal will see world powers lift crippling economic sanctions, which have restricted Iran's oil exports, in return for toning down its atomic programme.
Iran has the fourth biggest proven oil reserves in the world.
Oil prices have plummeted from above $100 a barrel in June last year because of the supply glut brought about by strong production from the United States and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries led by Saudi Arabia.