Oil rose more than $1 above $43 a barrel on Thursday encouraged by strong loan data from China, which investors speculated could feed through into economic growth, and ahead of an OPEC meeting.

U.S. light crude rose $1.30 cents to $43.53 a barrel by 1249 GMT (8:49 a.m. EDT). London Brent crude gained $1.20 to $42.60.

On Wednesday, it fell more than 7 percent as a bigger than expected increase in U.S. crude oil inventories and a slump in Chinese oil imports triggered a wave of selling.

Now traders have turned to news of higher than expected Chinese lending and the meeting of ministers of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Vienna on Sunday.

The producer group, the source of about a third of global crude oil supply, is widely expected to talk about compliance to existing output cuts rather than further export reduction.

But some members, such as Iraq and Kuwait, have said an additional cut might be necessary.

Saudi Arabia, the biggest and most influential of the 12-member group, is among those that believe it is too soon to agree new output targets, sources have said.

There is lots of repositioning going on ahead of the OPEC meeting. If the market is sold off a lot it might pressure the OPEC to agree on another cut, said Olivier Jakob with Petromatrix.

China is always a market driver, although there are still some conflicting data. We have to be wary about getting into a trap of negative data.

The latest figures from China showed industrial output growth slowed to a record low at the start of the year, weighing global markets.

But data showing a continued surge in bank lending in China in February fed optimism that activity could soon rebound.

Showing similarly mixed signals, China's daily refinery output fell 2.3 percent in February from a year ago, was still at the fastest rate in 4 months.

(Additional reporting by Maryelle Demongeot in Singapore and Ikuko Kao in London; Editing by Keiron Henderson)