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Oil rises from 1-week low, US inventory data in focus
[SINGAPORE] US oil on Thursday moved away from one-week lows touched the session before, with investors turning their attention to upcoming government data on US inventories.
Sentiment in oil markets has been torn between expectations of a rebound in US shale production and hopes that oversupply may be curbed by output cuts announced by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) and others.
The international benchmark for oil prices, Brent crude rose 51 US cents, or 0.95 per cent to US$54.43 a barrel by 0321 GMT after closing down 2.8 per cent in the last session.
US West Texas Intermediate crude oil was trading up 46 US cents at US$51.54 per barrel, having dropped to a one-week low on Wednesday at US$50.91 a barrel.
"Some bargain hunters are happy to pick up oil at the bottom of the range," said Ben Le Brun, market analyst at OptionsXpress in Sydney. "We are just watching for the next catalyst which could come from Opec, non-Opec, US shale producers, rig count and, of course, inventories...But still the market appears to be very range bound."
The market is awaiting weekly inventory data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), due at 1600 GMT. It has been delayed by a day due to a US public holiday on Monday.
Data from the American Petroleum Institute (API) showed US crude stocks fell by 5.04 million barrels in the week to Jan 13. Analysts had expected a decrease of 342,000 barrels.
Opec said producer cuts agreed late last year should help stabilise the oil market in 2017, with the exporter group's output slipping and non-members complying with their production pledges. But the organisation also pointed to the possibly of a rebound in US output amid higher oil prices.
Opec, excluding Indonesia, pumped 33.085 million barrels per day last month, according to figures the body collects from secondary sources, down 221,000 bpd from November, it said in a report on Wednesday. The figures showed the biggest reduction came from Saudi Arabia.
"The IEA (International Energy Agency) said it expects higher oil prices to trigger a significant boost in US shale output," ANZ said in a note. "However, we still expect the global oil market to move into a significant deficit in the first half of 2017."
The US dollar, which influences moves in greenback-priced commodities, inched up against the yen and kept broad gains against other major peers.