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Oil prices rebound in Asia

business Updated: Feb 11, 2009 10:04 IST

Oil prices rebounded in Asian trade on Wednesday after data showed a decrease in US oil stocks.

New York’s main oil futures contract, light sweet crude for delivery in March, gained 40 cents to $ 37.95 a barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for March jumped 50 cents to 45.11 ahead of the contract’s expiry on Thursday.

Prices rose after the American Petroleum Institute (API), the industry trade association, reported early on Wednesday a two-million-barrel drop in oil inventories in the United States.

Mark Pervan, senior commodities analyst for ANZ bank in Melbourne, said it was the first drop in US oil supply in seven weeks.

Market reaction to stockpiles data typically develops only after the US Department of Energy reports its figures, which were due later on Wednesday, but the API figures may be evidence that output cuts by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) are starting to take effect, Pervan said.

“We may be starting to see the first impact of reduced OPEC supply,” he said.