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Oil Steadies, Recovery Stunded by Europe Lockdowns, US Stockbuild

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Oil prices steadiedr on Wednesday, following the previous days slump, but the recovery was stunted by fears of a slow recovery in demand due to new pandemic lockdowns in Europe and a build in U.S. crude stocks.

Brent crude futures rose 8 cents, or 0.1, to 60.87 a barrel by 0454 GMT, after tumbling 5.9 and hitting a low of 60.50 the previous day.

West Texas Intermediate WTI crude futures climbed 8 cents, or 0.1, to 57.84 a barrel, having lost 6.2 and touched a low of 57.32 on Tuesday.

Both benchmarks touched their lowest levels since early February on Tuesday and have now fallen nearly 15 from their recent highs earlier this month.

The frontmonth spread for both Brent and WTI slipped into contango, where frontmonth contracts are lower than the later months, a sign that demand for prompt crude is declining.

Investors adjusted positions from Tuesdays sharp selloff, said Kazuhiko Saito, chief analyst at commodities broker Fujitomi Co.

But the market sentiment remained bearish due to growing concerns about demand recovery in the wake of new pandemic curbs in Europe, he said.

Germany, Europes biggest oil consumer, extended its lockdown to April 18, and Chancellor Angela Merkel urged citizens to stay at home for five days over the Easter holiday.

Worries over the pace of the recovery from the pandemic were also heightened after a U.S. health agency said the AstraZeneca Plc vaccine developed with Oxford University may have included outdated information in its data….

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