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U.S. oil prices rebound after tumbling to lowest since June 2017 on economy fears

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

* Oil plunge mirrors broader market weakness

* Russia energy minister expects more stable prices in 1H2019 (Adds comments, background; updates prices)

SEOUL, Dec 26 (Reuters) - Oil prices were mixed in thintrading on Wednesday as the U.S. benchmark rebounded from steeplosses in the previous session, even though concern over thehealth of the global economy continued to overshadow the marketin the longer term.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 ,were up 29 cents, or 0.68 percent, at $42.82 per barrel, at 0355GMT, having at one point risen as high as 2 percent from thelast close. They had slumped 6.7 percent in the previous sessionto $42.53 a barrel - the lowest since June 2017.

Meanwhile Brent crude oil futures LCOc1 were down 11 centsor 0.22 percent at $50.36 a barrel, having skidded 6.2 percentin the previous session to $50.47 a barrel, the weakest sinceAugust 2017.

"$50 is a psychological support level (for Brent)," saidMargaret Yang, 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 from 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 from January.

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.

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 shutdowncould last until his demand for U.S.-Mexico border wall money ismet.


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