Oil halted its slide near $45 a barrel after the biggest two-day decline in three weeks amid rising U.S. stockpiles.
Futures gained as much as 0.7 percent in New York, trimming a weekly drop. Inventories expanded for a sixth week to keep supplies more than 100 million barrels above the five-year seasonal average, government data showed Wednesday. Saudi Arabia increased pricing for December sales of all its crude grades to Asia, where refiners are earning bigger profits.
West Texas Intermediate for December delivery rose as much as 33 cents to $45.53 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $45.43 at 7:52 a.m. Hong Kong time. Prices slid 5.6 percent through the two days ended Thursday, the most since Oct. 13. The volume of all futures traded was about 70 percent below the 100-day average. WTI is down 2.5 percent this week.
Brent for December settlement lost 60 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $47.98 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange on Thursday. The European benchmark crude ended the session at a premium of $2.78 to WTI.