LONDON — World oil prices rebounded slightly on Thursday after sharp losses the previous day sparked by surging crude stockpiles in the United States. Brent North Sea crude for December advanced 31 cents to US$85.02 a barrel nearing midday in London. U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate for December delivery added 23 cents to US$80.75 a barrel compared with Wednesday’s close. ��The ongoing large builds in crude oil inventories continue to dominate the oil market, setting a bearish tone and weighing heavily on market sentiment,�� said Sucden analyst Myrto Sokou. ��The bearish oil fundamentals verify the slowdown in the U.S. oil demand, following the recent tepid U.S. macroeconomic data.�� The oil market won further support on Thursday after news that China’s key manufacturing sector picked up slightly, but analysts said prices remain burdened by a supply glut. Crude futures sank Wednesday as U.S. stockpiles surged again, with WTI falling nearly US$2 a barrel to its lowest closing level since June 2012. The U.S. Department of Energy reported Wednesday that American oil inventories surged by 7.1 million barrels in the week to October 17, more than double market expectations.
U.S. stocks of distillates, including heating fuel, rose by one million barrels, confounding forecasts for a drop of 1.5 million barrels. Reserves of gasoline meanwhile dipped 1.3 million barrels, broadly in line with expectations.