NEW YORK, Jan 13 (Reuters) - Oil tumbled 5 percent to near six-year lows before recovering ground on Tuesday, and Brent briefly traded at par to U.S. crude for the first time in three months as some traders moved to take advantage of ample storage space in the United States.
Traders were searching to store the glut of oil, which has knocked down prices 60 percent in the last six months. So far this week, Brent has lost 7 percent and U.S. crude 5 percent.
Brent settled down 84 cents at $46.59 a barrel, after falling to $45.19, its lowest since March 2009.
U.S. crude closed down 18 cents at $45.89, after hitting an April 2009 low of $44.20.
Oil tumbled earlier in the session after big OPEC producer United Arab Emirates defended the group's decision not to cut output to boost prices.
Losses were pared by a flurry of short-covering toward the close, as players moved to cash in on profitable short positions, traders said.
The arbitrage between Brent and U.S. crude <CL-LCO1=R> traded at parity for the first time since October, with both markets touching $46 a barrel at one point.
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