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Oil prices rebound from sharp losses

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for March delivery climbed $1.45 to $50.29 a barrel (AFP Photo/Scott Olson)

London (AFP) - Global oil prices rebounded Thursday on the weaker dollar, after tumbling the previous day on concerns about surging stockpiles in top consumer the United States, analysts said.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for March delivery rallied $1.84 to $50.68 a barrel compared with Wednesday's close.

Brent North Sea crude for March leapt $2.52 to $57.18 a barrel in late afternoon trade in London.

"Crude oil prices rebounded ... supported by a softer US dollar," said Sucden analyst Myrto Sokou.

The weaker greenback makes dollar-denominated crude cheaper for buyers using stronger currencies. In turn, that tends to stimulate demand and price levels.

Crude futures had fallen sharply on Wednesday, with New York crude sliding below $49, as swelling US inventories added to the global supply glut.

"There is some optimism in the market at the moment, but the fundamentals have not changed," Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney, told AFP.

"The increased US stockpiles adds to the worry about ample global supply, which is the main cause for the current bearish market," he added.

The US Department of Energy reported on Wednesday that commercial crude reserves rose 4.9 million barrels in the week ending February 6.

Stockpiles were "at the highest level for this time of year in at least the last 80 years", the agency added.

Oil prices have been under pressure for months, plunging about 60 percent to just over $40 a barrel between June and the end of January.

However, they have recovered slightly in recent weeks as the number of drilling rigs has fallen and oil companies have trimmed some investment.