Oil edged down toward $53 on Tuesday, as investors took profits after a 3 percent rise in the previous session that was supported by a surge on global stock markets on a new U.S. banking rescue plan.
U.S. light crude for May delivery fell 53 cents to $53.27 a barrel by 0917 GMT, after settling at $53.80, up $1.73 on Monday.
London Brent crude was down 70 cents at $52.77.
We're still in the same range that we were in at the end of yesterday's trading. We're seeing a bit of a correction this morning, Christopher Bellew, oil broker at Bache Commodities in London, said.
The rally on stock markets, among other markets like metals supported yesterday and if those are still strong today we may yet see a further recovery in the oil price.
Oil prices hit their highest intraday level in 2009 on Monday as the U.S. plan to free banks of up to $1 trillion in troubled mortgage securities and other loans sent global stock markets surging and weakened the U.S. dollar. The dollar rose on Tuesday, adding pressure to oil prices.
A weaker U.S. dollar often sends investors to U.S. dollar-denominated commodities as a hedge against inflation.
U.S. oil fundamentals have yet to show significant improvements, with a preliminary Reuters poll forecasting a 1.1 million barrels rise in U.S. crude oil inventories last week with imports on an upswing.
Gasoline supplies were projected to be down by a moderate 200,000 barrels and distillate supplies, which include heating oil and diesel, were expected to be little changed.
The analysts made their forecasts ahead of weekly inventory reports to be released by industry group American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday at 2030 GMT and the U.S. Energy Information Administration on Wednesday.
China's refined fuel stocks rose 11 percent in February despite a sharp post-holiday rebound in domestic sales, media reported on Tuesday, suggesting that demand in the world's No. 2 consumer may be weaker than thought.
Oil prices have climbed from under $33 last December, partly due to aggressive supply cuts from OPEC. But prices remain almost $100 below last summer's peak as the global economic crisis erodes consumption.
Nigerian oil unions on Tuesday called off plans for a workers' strike this week after the government promised to do more to improve security in the restive Niger Delta.
(Additional reporting by Maryelle Demongeot; Editing by Ben Tan and Sue Thomas)