By Biman Mukherji
--After easing slightly following the release of fresh US inventory data, oil futures turned higher by midday Thursday in Asia on prospects of further stockpile declines.
--February light, sweet crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange was recently up 0.2% at $59.74 a barrel in the Globex trading session. February Brent rose 0.1% to $66.52.
--The American Petroleum Institute said U.S. oil inventories fell more than what is expected in Thursday's government report. Meanwhile, readings for gasoline and distillates were bearish versus consensus views for the coming data from the Energy Information Administration. Futures for both remained in the red at midday in Asia.
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