Oil prices climbed in Asian trade today as following heavy losses in New York trade stoked by a rise in stockpiles and concerns about the global economy, analysts said.

New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in April gained 37 cents to $93.21 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for delivery in April added 61 cents to $114.14.

“It is possible that we do have the bargain hunters looking to pick up oil at these levels,” said Jason Hughes, head of premium client management at IG Markets in Singapore.

Both contracts had tumbled more than $2 yesterday in the United States as traders absorbed poor US jobs data, signs of weaker-than-expected US crude demand and a fall in Eurozone business activity.

The US Labor Department said initial jobless claims rose to 362,000 in the week ending February 16, more than the analyst estimate of 358,000.

US crude oil inventories also rose by 4.1 million barrels in the week ending February 15, data released by the Department of Energy yesterday showed.

That was more than double market expectations for a gain of 1.7 million barrels, according to analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires.

An increase in crude inventories puts a downward pressure on oil prices.

(This article was published on February 22, 2013)
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