Oil rebounds slightly, eyes U.S. inventory data

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LONDON, Nov 14 (Reuters) Oil moved higher on Wednesday, after falling sharply for the past two days, supported by expectations of a further fall in U.S. crude oil supplies and as OPEC brushed off U.S. calls to raise output.

U.S. light crude for December delivery rose 86 cents to .03 a barrel by 1125 GMT.

London Brent crude gained 76 cents to .59 a barrel.

Oil has fallen more than a barrel from last week's record of .62, pressured by evidence that high prices may be affecting demand after the International Energy Agency's latest monthly oil market report cut predictions for demand growth.

But a weak dollar and strong demand from emerging market countries are still underpinning the market.

''All the reasons that have taken us above are still here,'' said Harry Tchilinguirian, senior oil market analyst at BNP Paribas.

''If we have a very mild winter, then you could see prices cool off. If not, then oil demand growth remains strong in those areas that matter most: China, Asia and the Middle East.'' The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries sees no need to increase oil production now.

''At this time, frankly, we don't see that we should add more oil,'' said Secretary-General Abdullah al-Badri ahead of the OPEC heads of state summit in Riyadh.

The United States Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman has asked OPEC to agree to boost production because of shrinking oil inventory levels in developed economies.

But Saudi Arabia's oil minister Ali al-Naimi has confirmed that OPEC will not discuss raising crude output at a heads-of-state meeting on Nov. 17-18.

OPEC's next official policy meeting is not until Dec. 5 in Abu Dhabi.

The market focus has shifted back to the short-term outlook, which points to a potential supply shortfall during the northern hemisphere winter.

''The big focus now is the U.S. inventory report. Polls are showing a drawdown in crude stocks and some speculators may be seeing opportunities to buy again after yesterday's fall,'' said Tony Nunan, risk manager for Mitsubishi Corp in Tokyo.

A Reuters poll shows that Thursday's U.S. inventory data is expected to show crude stocks fell last week by an average of 800,000 barrels, which would be the fourth consecutive weekly decline.

The weekly report is being released a day later than usual, because of the U.S. Veterans Day holiday on Monday.

REUTERS BJR ND1722

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