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U.S. oil edges up after tumbling to lowest since June 2017 on economy fears

* WTI firms, but Brent slips to lowest since July 2017

* Oil plunge mirrors broader market weakness

* Russia energy minister expects more stable prices in 1H2019 (Adds Kazakhstan energy minister's comments; updates prices)

SEOUL, Dec 26 (Reuters) - Oil prices were mixed on Wednesdayas the U.S. benchmark rebounded from steep losses in theprevious session, even though concern over the health of theglobal economy continued to overshadow the market.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 ,were up 13 cents, or 0.31 percent, at $42.66 per barrel, at 0748GMT. Prices earlier rose as much as 2 percent. They slumped 6.7percent in the previous session to $42.53 a barrel, the lowestsince June 2017.

Brent crude oil futures LCOc1 were down 29 cents, or 0.57percent, at $50.18 a barrel and earlier fell to the lowest sinceJuly 2017. They skidded 6.2 percent in the previous session to$50.47 a barrel.

"$50 is a psychological support level (for Brent)," saidMargaret Yang, a market analyst for CMC Markets in Singapore.

"But market confidence needs to be restored for oilprice...that include an equity market rebound and/or a biggerproduction cut from major oil exporters," Yang said, referringto an OPEC-led agreement to lower output starting next month.

Broader financial markets have been under pressure onworries about a global economic slowdown amid higher U.S.interest rates and the U.S.-China trade dispute.

"U.S. equity futures are trading a bit firmer this morningtriggering some little buying interest in the oil markets," saidStephen Innes, head of trading for Asia-Pacific at futuresbrokerage Oanda in Singapore.

But Innes added macroeconomics fears will continue unlessthe Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)"reassures markets the viability of their supply cuts and evenimpose deeper ones as some members have suggested". OPEC andallies led by Russia agreed this month to cut oil production by1.2 million barrels per day.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Tuesday thatoil prices would become more stable in the first half of 2019,supported by OPEC and non-OPEC countries' joint efforts to cutoutput.

Kazakhstan, a party to the supply cut agreement, expects theparticipants of the OPEC and non-OPEC agreement to stabilise oilprices in the first quarter of next year and make a jointstatement next month to support the market, Energy ministerKanat Bozumbayev said on Wednesday.

Elsewhere, U.S. political turmoil triggered by the partialshutdown of the federal government is also adding to marketconcerns. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that agovernment shutdown could last until his demand for funds tobuild a U.S.-Mexico border is met.


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