Oil prices were mixed on Wednesday as the US benchmark rebounded from sharp losses in the previous session, although worries about the health of the global economy continue to overshadow the market in the long run.
West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures rose 29 cents, or 0.68 percent, to $ 42.82 a barrel at 0355 GMT, up 2 percent since the last close. They fell 6.7 percent in the previous session to $ 42.53 a barrel – the lowest since June 2017.
Meanwhile, Brent crude futures fell 11 cents or 0.22 percent to $ 50.36 a barrel, sliding 6.2 percent in the previous session to $ 50.47 a barrel, the weakest since August 2017.
"$ 50 is a level of psychological support (for Brent)," said Margaret Yang, a market analyst at CMC Markets in Singapore.
"But market confidence needs to be restored to the price of oil … which includes a stock market rebound and / or a larger cut in output from the major oil exporters," Yang said, referring to a deal led by OPEC to cut production next month.
Broader financial markets are under pressure over concerns about the global economic slowdown amid higher US interest rates and the US-China trade dispute.
"US stock futures are being traded a little steadier this morning, triggering a small buying interest in the oil markets," said Stephen Innes, Asia Pacific's director of operations at futures broker Oanda in Singapore.
But Innes added that macroeconomic fears will continue unless the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries "assures markets of the viability of their supply cuts and even imposes the deepest ones, as some members have suggested." OPEC and Russia-led allies agreed earlier this month to cut oil production by 1.2 million barrels a day starting in January.
Russia's energy minister Alexander Novak said on Tuesday that oil prices would become more stable in the first half of 2019, backed by the combined efforts of OPEC and non-OPEC members to cut output.
Elsewhere, the US political turmoil triggered by the partial shutdown of the federal government is also raising market concerns. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday the standoff could last until his demand for money from the US-Mexico border wall is met.