Oil prices edged higher Thursday from the prior day's nose-dive in a volatile market with some analysts citing signs of a potential demand pickup.
The US benchmark, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for May delivery, finished 37 cents higher at $50.79 a barrel.
Brent North Sea crude for May rallied to $56.57 a barrel in London, up $1.02.
Shailaja Nair, of energy consultant Platts, said Thursday's price rebound was "due to bargain-hunting" traders, who pounced on oil at depressed prices.
But Phil Flynn, an analyst at Price Futures Group, highlighted that US crude oil imports were increasing despite the high inventories, and said that could show improved demand prospects in the world's largest oil consumer or concerns about supply tightening.
"Oil prices are rebounding back today as there are signs that US production will soon start to fall and global demand should start to rise," said Flynn.
"With crude price differentials still favorable, the market is saying send us you're tired, your poor, your huddled masses and your extra barrels of crude."
On Wednesday, both contracts tumbled about $3.55 after the US Department of Energy's weekly commercial inventories report showed an increase of nearly 11 million barrels of crude to a record 482.4 million barrels.