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Oil prices edge up, trading thin ahead of Christmas

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Brent crude oil prices edged up on Tuesday following a volatile session the day before that saw contracts jump over 2 percentage points before falling back to not much more than US$60 a barrel.

[SINGAPORE] Brent crude oil prices edged up on Tuesday following a volatile session the day before that saw contracts jump over 2 percentage points before falling back to not much more than US$60 a barrel.

Asian trading was thin, curbed by a public holiday in Japan and as many traders close their books ahead of the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Front-month Brent crude futures were trading at US$60.42 per barrel at 0215 GMT, up 31 cents. US WTI crude was up 56 cents at US$55.82 a barrel.

Tuesday's quiet opening followed a volatile session on Monday, when Brent prices first jumped to almost US$63 a barrel on the back of strong international market performances before sliding back to not much over $60 after Saudi Arabia's powerful oil minister said Opec would not cut production at any price. "Brent could drop below US$60 per barrel over the next six months, and WTI could fall to US$50, as global oil inventories build sharply from here," Bank of America Merrill Lynch said in a research note. "The faster the oil price drop, the larger the damage to the global oil industry. Oil could rebound sharply by the end of 2015," it added.

REUTERS