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U.S. oil prices rebound after tumbling to lowest since June 2017 on economy fears

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By Reuters
U.S. oil prices rebound after tumbling to lowest since June 2017 on economy fears
FILE PHOTO: A pump jack operates in the Permian Basin oil production area near Wink, Texas U.S. August 22, 2018. REUTERS/Nick Oxford/File Photo   -   Copyright  Nick Oxford(Reuters)

By Jane Chung

SEOUL (Reuters) – Oil prices were mixed in thin trading on Wednesday as the U.S. benchmark rebounded from steep losses in the previous session, even though concern over the health of the global economy continued to overshadow the market in the longer term.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures <CLc1>, were up 35 cents, or 0.82 percent, at $42.88 per barrel, at 0152 GMT, having at one point risen as high as 2 percent from the last close. They had slumped 6.7 percent in the previous session to $42.53 a barrel – the lowest since June 2017.

Meanwhile Brent crude oil futures <LCOc1> were down 16 cents or 0.32 percent at $50.31 a barrel, having skidded 6.2 percent in the previous session to $50.47 a barrel, the weakest since August 2017.

Broader financial markets have been under pressure on worries about a global economic slowdown amid higher U.S. interest rates and the U.S.-China trade dispute.

“U.S. equity futures are trading a bit firmer this morning triggering some little buying interest in the oil markets,” said Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia-Pacific at futures brokerage Oanda in Singapore.

But Innes added macroeconomics fears will continue unless the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) “reassures markets the viability of their supply cuts and even impose deeper ones as some members have suggested”. OPEC and allies led by Russia agreed this month to cut oil production by 1.2 million barrels per day from January.

Elsewhere, U.S. political turmoil triggered by the partial shutdown of the federal government is also adding to market concerns. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that shutdown could last until his demand for U.S.-Mexico border wall money is met.

(Reporting by Jane Chung; Additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in SINGAPORE; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)