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2023.03.3109:56:00UTC+00Oil Prices Subdued As China Reports Mixed Data

Oil prices were subdued on Friday as investors digested mixed data out of China, the world's largest crude importer, and awaited key U.S. inflation data later in the day for additional clues to the U.S. rate outlook.

Benchmark Brent crude futures slipped 0.3 percent to $78.34 a barrel, while WTI crude futures were down 0.1 percent at $74.30.

Official data showed China's manufacturing activity rose in March at a slower pace, but still exceeded expectations.

Services activity expanded at the fastest pace in nearly 12 years and construction activity remained strong, boosting the outlook for growth this year.

Investors also exercised caution following tough talk by Fed officials on the rate outlook.

While Boston Fed President Susan Collins expects one more quarter-point rate increase, Richmond Fed President Thomas Barkin said he remains undecided on how to adjust rates at the May meeting.

Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari said the Fed needs to focus on lowering inflation back to 2 percent and that it's not yet fully clear what impact the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank will have on the economy.

Key U.S. inflation data due later in the day is expected to provide additional clues on the Fed's monetary policy path.

Earlier today, data showed Eurozone inflation eased more than expected in March as a result of lower energy prices.

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