Crude oil futures, which had seen more than 5 per cent decline in the global exchanges in the last three sessions over the fears of interest rate hikes in the US and the disappointing economic indicators from China, continued to trade lower on Friday morning as the market awaited the data from the US labour market.

At 9.52 am on Friday, May Brent oil futures were down by 0.64 per cent at $81.0 and April crude oil futures on WTI were down by 0.86 per cent at $75.07.

March crude oil futures were trading at ₹6,177 on Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX) in initial trade against the previous close of ₹6,277, down by 1.59 per cent, and April futures were trading at ₹6223 as against the previous close of ₹6318, down by 1.50 per cent.

Major deciding factor

The non-farm payroll data of the US is scheduled for release later in the day. Market reports noted that this data could have an impact on the prices of crude oil also as labour market data is one of the major factors for the US Federal Reserve to decide on the interest rate hikes.

The Chair of the US Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, had indicated the interest rate hikes in his testimony before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday. Stating that the latest economic data have come in stronger than expected, Powell said the ultimate level of interest rates is likely to be higher than previously anticipated.

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This statement impacted the sentiments in the crude oil market as the slowdown in the economy due to such rate hikes would affect the demand for commodities such as crude oil.

The data from China on the consumer price index and producer price index released on Thursday indicated that it is still struggling to recover from the three years of Covid restrictions.

Jeera crackles, guar gum cools

March natural gas futures were trading at ₹206.20 on MCX in the initial trading hour of Friday against the previous close of ₹209.20, down by 1.43 per cent.

On the National Commodities and Derivatives Exchange (NCDEX), March jeera contracts were trading at ₹30,560 in early trade against the previous close of ₹30,360, up by 0.66 per cent.

March guar gum futures were trading at ₹12,013 on NCDEX against the previous close of ₹12,129, down by 0.96 per cent.