Oil prices slipped to around $57 today due to increasing demand concerns caused by weak data from China.

Prices were also affected by a report from the American Petroleum Institute, which revealed that US crude stocks increased by more than six million barrels last week.

"The price of Brent crude increased 19% in the previous four sessions following the declining number of US oil drilling rigs."

Reuters reported that Brent crude oil was 53 cents lower at $57.38 a barrel, while US crude was down 88 cents at $52.17 a barrel.

Morgan Stanley analysts were quoted by the news agency as saying: "Longer-dated prices are moving towards a range that could allow producers to hedge, which would prevent any material slowdown in US supply."

Data from Baker Hughes has revealed that energy firms hit by lower crude prices have cut rig counts with the number of US rigs drilling for oil down by 61 in the week to 9 January.

The price of Brent crude increased 19% in the previous four sessions following the declining number of US oil drilling rigs.

BP, Chevron and CNOOC have reduced their capital investment for this year due to declining oil prices.

PIRA Energy expects worldwide oil demand to increase by 1.5 million barrels per day this year.

The company noted that oversupply will beat demand in the next six months.