Investing.com - Crude oil prices edged up in Asia Friday in thin trade supported by ongoing tensions in the Ukraine and the potential for shifts in U.S. policy or deals with China on crude exports.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude oil for delivery in June traded at $101.62 a barrel, up 0.12%, after hitting an overnight session low of $101.28 a barrel and a high of $102.25 a barrel.
The front-month June contract for Brent oil expired Thursday, rising 25 cents, or 0.2%, to $110.44 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange. Most of the volume in the Brent market has rolled forward into the July contract, which settled down 22 cents, or 0.2%, at $109.09 a barrel.
Russian President Vladimir Putin touches down in China for a closely watched two-day state visit May 20 to push closer energy ties to counter efforts by Westewrn nations to curb business dealings because of economic sanctions related to the annexation of Ukrainian territory.
Spotty data out of the U.S. softened crude futures by stoking fears the U.S. economy still battles headwinds that may crimp demand for fuel and energy.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said its manufacturing index ticked down to 15.4 this month from 16.6 in April, better than expectations for a 14.0 reading.
The data came after the U.S. Department of Labor said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending May 10 fell by 24,000 to 297,000 from the previous week's revised total of 321,000. Analysts had expected jobless claims to fall by 1,000 to 320,000 last week.
Elsewhere, the New York Fed said its manufacturing index climbed to a two-plus-year high of 19.01 in May from a reading of 1.29 in April, far surpassing market calls for a rise to 5.00 this month.
On the other hand, U.S. industrial production dropped 0.6% last month, confounding expectations for a 0.1% rise. March's figure was revised up to a 0.9% increase from a previously estimated 0.7% gain.
U.S consumer inflation rates came in better than expected as well, though concerns arose after investors digested the numbers.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported earlier that the U.S. consumer price index rose to 0.3% in April from 0.2% in March, in line with market expectations.
The U.S. core consumer price index, which excludes food and energy items, rose by 0.2% last month, more than the expected 0.1% uptick, after a 0.2% gain in March.
On Thursday, however, the producer price index came in much better than expected, and the consumer inflation rate's inability to maintain the same pace as its wholesale counterpart softened the dollar somewhat by stoking concerns surrounding the strength of U.S. demand for goods and services.
The U.S. producer price index increased by 0.6% last month, beating forecasts for a 0.2% gain, after rising 0.5% in March.
The core producer price index advanced 0.5% last month, compared to expectations for a 0.2% increase, after rising 0.6% in March.
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