Oil prices rose more than a percent on Thursday, clawing back a part of the 6 percent slump in the previous session that was triggered by a shock jump in U.S. crude inventories and record Saudi output, although analysts said sentiment remained bearish. A 10.95 million-barrel surge in U.S. crude stockpiles to 482.4 million last week, the biggest gain in 14 years, and Saudi oil production of 10.3 million barrels a day in March had battered crude futures on Wednesday.
“Total U.S. crude stocks continued to fly far above 5-year highs, setting new records every week,” Societe Generale analysts said in a note. Cushing, the delivery point for West Texas Intermediate contracts, is now filled to 85 percent of its total working capacity of 70.1 million barrels, the bank said.
Brent crude LCOc1 was up 62 cents at $56.17 a barrel by 10.36 p.m. EDT, while U.S. crude CLc1 rose 64 cents to $51.06 a barrel. Both benchmarks dropped around $3.50 on Wednesday. Oil prices recovered slightly on Thursday in an extension of the recent high market volatility that has seen frequent price reversals as speculators bet on when ballooning supply in the U.S. will start to ease.