Oil prices rebound

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IOL image oil rig generic FREE IMAGES An oil rig is shown in this file photo.

Singapore - Oil prices climbed in Asian trade Friday following heavy losses in New York stoked by a rise in stockpiles and concerns about the global economy, analysts said.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in April, gained 24 cents to $93.08 a barrel in the afternoon and Brent North Sea crude for delivery in April added 51 cents to $114.04.

“It is possible that we do have the bargain hunters looking to pick up oil at these levels,” said Jason Hughes, head of premium client management at IG Markets in Singapore.

Both contracts had tumbled more than $2 on Thursday in The United States as traders absorbed poor US jobs data, signs of weaker-than-expected US crude demand and a fall in eurozone business activity.

The US Labor Department said initial jobless claims rose to 362,000 in the week ending February 16, more than the analyst estimate of 358,000.

US crude inventories also rose by 4.1 million barrels in the week ending February 15, data released by the Department of Energy Thursday showed.

That was more than double market expectations for a gain of 1.7

million barrels, according to analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires.

An increase in crude inventories puts a downward pressure on oil prices. - Sapa-AFP

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