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[LAUSANNE, Switzerland] Oil prices could weaken again but they are unlikely to plumb new depths this year, leading commodities traders said on Tuesday, citing strengthening demand.
Ian Taylor, head of the world's largest oil trader, Vitol, told Reuters he thought global benchmark Brent crude oil, which tumbled 60 percent to just above US$45 a barrel in January, could dip again briefly.
But the oil market had likely already seen its 2015 lows.
"We will probably see one more dip in the second quarter but prices probably won't go below this year's lows," Mr Taylor told Reuters on the sidelines of the FT Commodities Summit in Lausanne.
Demand was strong and should provide support to oil prices, Mr Taylor said.
"Gasoline is coming back with a vengeance. Refining margins are not as bad as we had feared," he said. Growth in demand outside the United States was impressive in India, South Africa and even Europe, he added.
The chief executive of commodities trading house Gunvor, Torbjorn Tornqvist, also told the conference he believed the period of low oil prices was over.
"I personally believe low oil prices are behind us," Mr Tornqvist said. "The (global oil) oversupply in terms of percentage is very small. The oil price has over-reacted to the downside."
Oil prices steadied on Tuesday, worried about the risk of a disruption to oil supplies in the Middle East as a civil war in Yemen escalated, risking the security of neighbouring countries, including Saudi Arabia.
Brent crude for June was down 50 cents at US$62.95 a barrel by 1555 GMT.