Oil stays off new lows, but ends lower on supply fears

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Crude held steady in choppy trading on Thursday as abundant supply and a strong U.S. dollar largely outweighed worries conflict in the Middle East disrupting output.

Libya's oil output has climbed to 925,000 barrels per day (bpd), with the major El Sharara oilfield at 200,000 bpd, an official with the National Oil Corp said on Thursday, despite fighting between the factions that divide the country and a government driven from the capital.

The dollar hit a four-year high as the yield difference between U.S. and German bonds widened to the highest in nearly 15 years on Thursday, while global equity markets fell sharply as the stronger dollar pointed to potential earnings losses.

Brent crude was modestly higher near $97 a barrel, after hitting its lowest since July 2012 at $95.60 on Wednesday. U.S. crude , also known as West Texas Intermediate (WTI) ended down 27 cents at $92.53.

The dollar's strength dampened demand for commodities priced in the U.S. currency at a time when global economic growth is already lackluster, particularly in the euro zone and China. The euro reached a 22-month low as speculation grew that the region would need another stimulus package to spur growth.

Scattered attacks by rival militias continued across Libya, but its overall national production has risen.

Officials at Libya's eastern Hariga oil port said it had fully recovered from eight months of blockades by protesters and was exporting more than 120,000 bpd.

CORRECTION: An earlier version misprinted the trading level of Brent crude.