Oil prices increased on Thursday as investors increase bargain buying activity, but gains were slight

Brent crude futures edged up 33 cents at $44.47 a barrel, while the US crude futures last traded at $40.78 a barrel, rose 3 cents, Reuters reported.

ABN Amro in Amsterdam senior energy economist told the news agency: "People are seeing oil at these very low levels and so they want to step in."

According to market data, traders are ready for another downward turn in oil prices by March 2016.

Goldman Sachs said that storage usage continues to increase and a downside risk is expected for oil prices.

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"People are seeing oil at these very low levels and so they want to step in."

Data released by the Energy Information Administration revealed that last week, crude inventories in the US increased by 252,000 barrels to 487.3 million barrels.

The agency further said that stockpiles at Cushing, Oklahoma increased 1.5 million barrels to 56.9 million barrels.

Due to this, crude futures in the country have been struggling to break higher this week.

Oversupply is compelling producers to offer discounts so as to defend market share against their competition.

Trade sources said that Iraq, the second-biggest producer of OPEC has started sale of some crude grades for $30 a barrel.