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Crude ticks higher ahead of key data

Singapore :  Oil prices rose on bargain-buying in Asia today but analysts warned of fresh selling pressure as the United States and the eurozone prepare to release key manufacturing indicators later in the day.

The gains extended a slight recovery yesterday after they were hammered Wednesday by data showing US crude stockpiles increased much more than expected last week, adding to worries about a global glut.

Prices have been depressed for more than a year by global oversupply and a slowdown in major economies, particularly China, the world’s top energy consumer.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for delivery in December was up 22 cents to USD 45.57 and Brent crude for December gained 27 cents to USD 48.35 at around 0330 GMT.

“We’re still seeing some bargain-hunting,” said Daniel Ang, an investment analyst with Phillip Futures in Singapore.

Ang said, however, he expected the US and European purchasing managers indexes on manufacturing activity — closely watched measures of the health of the industrial sector — to show weakness.

“The data will likely put a more bearish tone on oil prices,” he told AFP, citing the European Central Bank’s hints yesterday that it could ramp up its bond-buying stimulus programme at its December policy meeting.

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