Oil steady below $ 94 after surprise US stockbuild

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SINGAPORE, Nov 16 (Reuters) Oil was little changed at below a barrel on Friday, in the wake of losses a day ago triggered by a surprise build in weekly U.S. crude stocks.

U.S. crude for December which expires later on Friday, was unchanged by 0632 GMT at .43 a barrel, after dropping 66 cents on Thursday. Oil now stands 5 percent below the record-high of .62 a barrel achieved on Nov. 7.

The January U.S. crude contract was up 9 cents at .16 a barrel. London Brent crude for January was down 13 cents at .10.

Prices on Thursday had clawed back some of their losses as traders scrutinised the details of the unexpected 2.8 million-barrel increase in crude inventories. Analysts had predicted a decline of 800,000 barrels. S] ''A rebound in U.S. crude stocks, due in part to a one-off backlog of imports, was... less bearish than it appeared, focused as it was on the relatively insulated West Coast,'' said Fimat energy analyst Antoine Halff.

Some analysts said the prospect for tightening winter fuel conditions would keep prices supported.

''Losses will be limited unless there is extra OPEC supply,'' said Gerard Rigby of Fuel First Consulting in Sydney.

OPEC will not discuss output levels at a heads of state meeting on Nov. 17-18, but officials said it will be on the agenda at the group's next policy meeting on Dec. 5 in Abu Dhabi.

Concerns high prices and economic problems in the United States might hit consumption growth helped halt oil's record rally, as the U.S. data showed a 0.7 percent dip in demand over the last four weeks, compared with a year ago.

Further disclosures of credit and housing problems in the United States added to the fears about slowing economic growth, knocking the Dow Jones industrial average 0.9 percent lower on Thursday, its sixth decline in the past seven sessions. N] Producer group OPEC lowered its world oil demand growth forecast for the fourth quarter of this year partly due to the U.S economic problems, a downgrade that came just days after the International Energy Agency (IEA) slashed its demand outlook.

Oil prices have surged nearly 40 percent since mid-August, as worries about winter supplies, the weakening dollar and geopolitical tensions drew fresh speculative investment.

REUTERS BJR BD1242

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