Crude oil futures were lower during mid-morning trade in Asia Friday amid ongoing global growth concerns as market participants waited for fresh cues to provide prices some direction.  At 11:10 am Singapore time (0310 GMT), ICE March Brent crude futures were down 28 cents/b (0.45%) from Thursday’s settle at $61.40/b, while the NYMEX February light sweet crude contract was 11 cents/b (0.21%) lower at $52.48/b.

“The US government shutdown and weak retail sales figures around the world reinvigorated concerns about growth,” ANZ analysts said in a note Friday.  According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics data released Thursday, China’s producer price index (PPI), ticked 0.9% higher year on year in December, while inching 1% lower month on month from November.  Moreover, the trade talk between the US and China that was held in Beijing earlier this week had no clear details from either parties on further action regarding the ongoing trade strife.

US President Donald Trump on Thursday said the United States was having “tremendous success” in its trade negotiations with China. However he failed to give any further details.  “Lack of details on US-China talks is one reason to take stock of exuberance — arguably be getting ahead of actual progress — that has transpired over the last week or so, ” Mizuho Bank’s senior economist Vishnu Varathan said.  Declines, however, were capped by the positive rhetoric that emerged from OPEC ministers on Wednesday, where they reassured the market on it reaching a balance in 2019 and promised to reduce output as per the agreement.  “After all, unless oil demand weakens noticeably, the oversupply on the oil market will gradually disappear,” Commerzbank analysts said in a note.