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Crude markets, which had been "oversold" in late New York trade Tuesday, were returning to a "more stable level", Justin Harper, market strategist for IG Markets Singapore, told AFP.
"It's a slight sort of bounce back because it got hit quite hard overnight." Crude prices had slid more than USD 2.00 on both the New York and London indexes in late trade yesterday on news that the Norwegian government had stepped in to end a 16-day strike in western Europe's largest oil and gas producer.
After the strike ended, Norwegian oil fields said they were ramping up output to compensate for the supply disruption, with state-owned giant Statoil, the company most affected by the strike, saying it expected normal output levels by week's end.
Looking ahead, Harper said weak demand from the US and China -- the world's largest oil and gas consumers respectively -- would place downside pressures on oil. "If you're looking at the demand side, there's still grim outlooks for US and China... I'm not very bullish on oil at the moment," he said.
The US was hit by dreary jobs numbers Friday in yet another blow to its efforts to kickstart the economy, while data released Tuesday showed China crude imports plunging to their lowest level since December.