TOKYO U.S. crude futures eked out gains for a second day in early Asian trade on Thursday, though the market remains vulnerable to gloom over a world awash with supply and concerns about economic growth hitting equity markets.
West Texas Intermediate (WTI) CLc1 was up 16 cents at $30.64 a barrel at 0052 GMT (1852 EDT). It settled at $30.48 on Wednesday, up 4 cents, after dropping as low as $30.10, the first gains in 2016.
WTI is down about 20 percent from a high on the first day of trading in 2016 and fell through the important $30 barrier on Tuesday before recouping some of the losses.
Brent crude LCOc1 was yet to trade. On Wednesday it was the global benchmark's turn to fall below $30 a barrel, dropping to a new 12-year low at $29.96 a barrel, before settling at $30.31 a barrel, down 55 cents or 1.8 percent.
A bearish report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration on Tuesday underlined concerns that demand is stagnating as more supply comes to market.
Data showing that crude inventories USOILC=ECI rose 234,000 barrels last week, much less than expectations, was overshadowed by reported builds of 8.4 million barrels in gasoline USOILG=ECI and over 6 million in distillates, which includes diesel and heating oil USOILD=ECI.
Concerns about the U.S. economy also amplified the gloom and the Standard and Poors 500 index dipped below 1,900 for the first time since early October. .N
In Tokyo on Thursday, the Nikkei 225 .N225 was down about 600 points, more than 3 percent, after data showed core machinery orders fell 14.4 percent in November from the previous month.
(Reporting by Aaron Sheldrick; Editing by Ed Davies)
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