Oil prices nudged higher on Friday, further recovering from a steep dive seen mid-week, although demand is set to remain shackled by a global supply glut, analysts said.
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for delivery in May edged up one cent to $50.80 a barrel.
Brent North Sea crude for May gained 27 cents to $56.84 around midday in London.
WTI and Brent sank 3.6 percent on Wednesday after the US Department of Energy said commercial inventories in the world’s biggest economy hit a record high last week.
That came after Saudi Arabia’s Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said his country’s production had hit an all-time high of 10.3 million barrels a day in March.
Phil Flynn, an analyst at Price Futures Group, has said this week that rising imports of US crude oil could indicate improved demand prospects in the world’s largest oil consumer or concerns about supply tightening.
Price support has meanwhile come from events concerning major oil producer Iran.
Analysts attributed steep gains at the start of the week to investors concluding that the nuclear framework agreed between Iran and international powers will have a minimal near-term effect on global crude supplies.