Oil prices rebound in Asia

[SINGAPORE] Oil prices rebounded in Asia Wednesday following a sharp decline in the previous session, analysts said, while investors await a weekly US stockpiles report later in the day.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for March delivery rose 74 cents to US$50.76 while Brent crude for March rose 42 cents to US$56.85 in mid-morning trade.

Nicholas Teo, market analyst at CMC Markets in Singapore, noted in a market commentary how "both WTI and Brent sold off between three and five percent" in the previous trading session owing to a downbeat global market outlook by the International Energy Agency.

Mr Teo added that the IEA report is indicative of a "persistent global supply glut" for crude.

Citing a major shakeup in the oil markets, the IEA said in its five-year forecast that prices will recover slightly from current levels by 2020 but remain considerably below the US$100-plus per barrel seen in June.

Also, the US Department of Energy's weekly petroleum report due Wednesday is expected to show a 3.6 million barrel increase in stockpiles, according to a Bloomberg News poll.

Rising stockpiles indicate weaker demand in the world's biggest economy and top oil consuming nation.

Between June and the end of January oil prices plunged about 60 per cent to just over US$40 owing to a global supply glut a weak dollar and the Opec cartel's refusal to cut output. However, they have recovered in recent weeks as the number of drilling rigs falls and energy firms begin to cut investment.


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