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Oil prices seesaw as market frets about growing U.S. stockpiles

Too much crude?

Crude-oil prices seesawed in Asia trade on Thursday, sticking to a tight range as concerns about expanding U.S. inventories amid declining consumer spending there are keeping traders subdued.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude futures for delivery in November CLX5, -0.41% traded at $46.49 a barrel, down $0.32 in the Globex electronic session. November Brent crude LCOX5, +0.31% on London’s ICE Futures exchange rose $0.15 to $49.30 a barrel.

Both grades briefly touched above the $50-a-barrel mark last week after a string of oil executives and leaders from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries hinted a price recovery was on the horizon. But strong output data and expectations of Iranian oil returning to the export market, coupled with tepid demand from China, rattled market confidence.

U.S. retail sales registered a 0.1% month-over-month rise in September, signaling...