U.S. crude stocks rose by 3.1 million barrels to 461 million last week as refineries reduced production and idled capacity. Analysts had expected an increase of 2.2 million barrels.
Both major oil benchmarks rose more than 1 percent on Thursday although trading was thin in the early part of the Asian session. With China open for business trading is likely to more volatile in commodities, ANZ said in a morning note.
U.S. crude was up 50 cents, or 1.05 percent, at $48.31 at 0039 GMT. The contract fell 1.5 percent on Wednesday after three days of gains.
Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, was up 53 cents, or 1.03 percent, at $51.86 a barrel, after falling 1.1 percent on Wednesday.
With little data out this week, apart from industry and government inventory numbers, and China on holiday for the first three days, the market has focussed on longer-term demand trends that have supported prices.
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