Oil prices edge higher on OPEC remarks
The oil market drifted higher Thursday as investors digested an upbeat demand forecast from the head of the OPEC crude producers' cartel.
Brent North Sea crude for delivery in November added seven cents to stand at $51.40 per barrel just after midday in London.
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for delivery in November won eight cents to $47.89 per barrel compared with Wednesday's close.
"Oil prices are... recouping some of the losses they suffered yesterday," said Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch.
"The optimistic remarks made about oil demand by OPEC Secretary General El-Badri still appear to be having after-effects," he added.
Traders were mulling remarks by Abdalla Salem El-Badri, secretary-general of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, who stated that demand will rise more than projected this year.
"World oil demand is estimated to increase by 1.5 million barrels per day in 2015, higher than the initial projection," El-Badri said in a statement to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
"In 2016, improvement in global economic activities is anticipated to support world oil demand to grow by 1.3 million barrels per day."
Prices had tumbled Wednesday after a US Department of Energy report showed commercial crude stockpiles rose more than expected in the week ending October 2, indicating softer demand in the world's top oil consuming nation.
Stockpiles rose by 3.1 million barrels, more than the market estimate of 2.25 million barrels. That brought inventories to 461.0 million barrels, more than 27 percent higher than a year ago.
US production, which had fallen by 40,000 barrels per day in the previous week, unexpectedly surged by 76,000 barrels per day, dousing hopes of an easing in the global crude oversupply.
Sanjeev Gupta, who heads the Asia Pacific oil and gas practice at professional services firm EY, added that traders were waiting for Thursday's release of minutes of the last meeting of the Federal Reserve for further clues on the health of the US economy.
© 2015 AFP