Oil prices up in Asian trade

Oil prices rose in Asia on Thursday as the market recovered after a snap reaction to data showing an unexpected surge in US inventories, analysts said.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in May gained a cent to $94.46 a barrel in the afternoon and Brent North Sea crude for May delivery added 33 cents to $107.44.

"Prices took a tumble after headline inventory numbers came in worse than expected," said David Lennox, resource analyst at Fat Prophets in Sydney.

"The market is now recovering as dealers digest the fact that stockpiles are still looking quite tight with robust corporate demand in the United States," he told AFP.

A weekly inventory report from the US Energy Information Administration Wednesday showed that US crude reserves rose 2.7 million barrels to 388.6 million barrels, higher than a predicted increase of 1.5 million barrels.

Surging US inventories signal weaker demand in the world's biggest economy and puts downward pressure on prices.