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Crude oil futures trim gains amid global growth concerns

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Shutterstock photo - Crude oil futures trimmed gains during U.S. morning hours on Monday, re-approaching the previous session's two-week low amid concerns over the global economic outlook and the impact on future oil demand prospects.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light sweet crude futures for delivery in May traded at USD93.13 a barrel during U.S. morning trade, up 0.45% on the day.

New York-traded oil prices rose by as much as 1.1% earlier in the session to hit a daily high of USD93.75 a barrel. Nymex oil prices fell to a two-week low of USD91.97 on Friday.

Market sentiment remained cautious after data on Friday showing that the U.S. economy added fewer than expected jobs in March raised doubts over the strength of the U.S. economic recovery.

The U.S. Department of Labor said the economy added 88,000 jobs last month, the smallest increase since last June and far below forecasts for an increase of 200,000.

The data also showed that the unemployment rate ticked down to 7.6% from 7.7% in February, but the decline stemmed from more people dropping out of the labor force. The labor participation rate fell to 63.3%, the lowest level since 1979.

Oil traders have long been taking cues from the monthly jobs report, the most-closely followed indicator of U.S. employment, because it offers insight into the economic health of the world's biggest crude oil consumer.

A deteriorating economy is generally correlated with decreased demand for oil and fuel products like gasoline.

Meanwhile, in the euro zone, official data showed that German industrial output rose 0.5% in February, compared to expectations for a 0.3% increase. However, January's figure was revised down to a decline of 0.6% from an initial flat reading.

Oil traders are now looking ahead to the release of key Chinese economic data later in the week to gauge the strength of the world's second largest economy.

China will announce inflation data for March on Tuesday. A higher-than-expected reading could dampen hopes that Beijing will introduce fresh easing measures in the near-term to boost economic growth.

China is the world's second largest oil consumer after the U.S. and has been the engine of strengthening demand.

Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange, Brent oil futures for May delivery added 0.7% to trade at USD104.83 a barrel, with the spread between the Brent and crude contracts standing at USD11.08 a barrel, the lowest gap since June.

The spread between the two contracts continued to trade near a nine-month low, due to an improving production outlook in the North Sea and amid growing concerns over the euro zone's economic outlook. - offers an extensive set of professional tools for the Forex, Commodities, Futures and the Stock Market including real-time data streaming, a comprehensive economic calendar, as well as financial news and technical & fundamental analysis by in-house experts.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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