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Brent crude edges up, but concern over demand limits gains

* Brent, U.S. crude near lowest levels since Q3 2017

* OPEC+ to meet again if cuts not enough - UAE

* Physical markets weak as Asian refiners cut purchases (Updates with comment, refreshes prices; changes dateline fromSEOUL)

LONDON, Dec 24 (Reuters) - Oil prices edged up on Mondayafter evidence that a recent fall to 15-month lows may beaffecting output in the United States, the world's largestproducer, although concern about the outlook for demand temperedgains.

Brent crude futures LCOc1 were up 12 cents at $53.94 abarrel by 0858 GMT, while U.S. crude futures CLc1 lost 3 centsto $45.56.

Brent fell 11 percent last week and hit its lowest sinceSeptember 2017, while U.S. futures slid to their lowest sinceJuly 2017, bringing the decline in the two contracts to 35percent so far this quarter.

The price drop has caused U.S. shale oil producers tocurtail drilling plans for next year.

The boom in shale output has made the United States theworld's largest oil producer, overtaking Saudi Arabia andRussia.

Physical prices for Brent have also fallen in the last sixweeks, driven by a drop in demand from Chinese refiners inparticular, which has weighed on the value of barrels ofanything from North Sea to Nigerian crude. CRU/ECRU/WAF

"The recent weakness in the physical Brent structure can beattributed to a broader easing of purchases by Asian refiners atthis point, with lower end-Q1 intake weighing on spotassessments, and we can expect this pressure to carry throughover the coming weeks," consultancy JBC Energy said in a report.

Still, the macroeconomic picture and its impact on oildemand continue to pressure prices. Global equities .MIWD00000PUS have fallen nearly 9.5 percent so far inDecember, their biggest one-month slide since September 2011,when the euro zone debt crisis was unfolding.

The trade dispute between the United States and China andthe prospect of a rapid rise in U.S. interest rates have broughtglobal stocks down from this year's record highs and ignitedconcern that oil demand will be insufficient to soak up anyexcess supply.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries andallies led by Russia agreed this month to cut oil production by1.2 million barrels per day from January.

Should that fail to balance the market, OPEC and its allieswill hold an extraordinary meeting, United Arab Emirates EnergyMinister Suhail al-Mazrouei said on Sunday.

"Oil ministers are already taking to the airwaves with a'price stability at all cost' mantra," said Stephen Innes, headof trading for Asia-Pacific at futures brokerage Oanda inSingapore. (Additional reporting by Jane Chung; Editing by Dale Hudson) ((jane.chung@thomsonreuters.com; +82 2 3704 5667; ReutersMessaging: jane.chung.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))


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