Oil prices rebound

Oil prices rebounded slightly on Monday following sharp losses last week but faced renewed downward pressure because of easing demand and the return of normal Libyan oil production, analysts said.

New York's main contract West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in February climbed 56 cents to $94.52 a barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for February gained 92 cents to $107.81 a barrel in London deals.

WTI had fallen by $1.48 on Friday, ending the week down more than $6.

"Everyone is talking about how this year is going to be better but if you look at the data from the bigger countries like (the) US and China, they are all trickling down slightly," said Kelly Teoh, market strategist at IG Markets.

"You have all these countries that want to increase production but the demand is stabilising or flat at best," she told AFP.

The US Energy Information Administration's most recent report on weekly stockpiles appeared at first glance to support a price rise after commercial crude inventories fell 7.0 million barrels to 360.6 million in the world's biggest economy.

But the data also showed rises in product stockpiles such as gasoline, suggesting overall energy demand was not as strong as the fall in crude reserves implied, analysts said.

The easing of crude demand comes as Libya resumes normal production.

A spokesman for the Libyan National Oil Corporation told AFP last week that the 330,000 barrel-a-day El Sharara field is expected to resume normal output, after protesters had agreed to stop a strike.

Meanwhile in Iraq, militants bombed a major oil pipeline in the north on Thursday, causing a fire and forcing pumping to be suspended, an official from the North Oil Company said, adding that repairs were already under way.

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