Oil prices steadied Tuesday after heavy losses the previous day, as markets looked ahead to more indications of world crude demand levels amid high supplies. Brent North Sea crude for delivery in December stood at $48.61 a barrel in London midday deals, unchanged from Monday's close. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for November delivery dipped two cents to $45.87 a barrel.–AFP

Both contracts fell sharply on Monday following the release of official data showing that China's economy grew at its weakest pace in more than six years, renewing concerns over demand in the world's top energy consumer.

Prices were weighed down also by news that Saudi Arabia's crude stockpiles stood at record highs, adding to concerns about high US inventories and expectations of increased Iranian output with the lifting of Western sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

"Iran's energy minister is adding to this depressed outlook, stating at an industry conference in Tehran that the country would aim to restore its share of global crude exports within months of the sanctions being lifted," said Kash Kamal, senior research analyst at Sucden Financial.

Traders are awaiting the release Wednesday of data on the level of US crude stockpiles for last week.

Both WTI and Brent prices have failed to hold above $50 a barrel this month as the global market remains oversupplied, with the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries continuing to pump above its quota to maintain market share with the US.