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Crude oil futures steady amid US rig count dip, growth concerns

Singapore — Crude oil futures were steady during mid-morning trade in Asia Friday amid a decline reported in US oil rig count data and ongoing global demand and growth-related concerns.

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At 10:15 am in Singapore (0215 GMT), ICE Brent October futures ticked up 9 cents/b (0.15%) from Thursday's settle at $60.01/b, while the front-month NYMEX October light sweet crude futures moved 6 cents/b (0.11%) higher at $55.41/b.

The US oil and gas rig count slipped below 1,000 for the first time in nearly 28 months as the industry awaited signs that could point the way out of a sluggish, uncertain market, weekly figures from RigData supplied by Enverus, formerly called DrillingInfo, showed Thursday.

For the week ended Wednesday, the total rig count stood at 998, down nine on the week, with two-thirds of the decrease from rigs chasing natural gas.

This was the first time the total rig count has been below 1,000 since the first week of May 2017.

However, weaker global demand data capped price gains, said analysts.

"Weak economic data weighed on crude oil prices," said ANZ analysts in a note Friday.

The IHS Market report showed that the August US manufacturing PMI fell to a 119-month low at 49.9, down from 50.4 in July. The index fell below 50, indicating a contraction, for the first time since September 2009.

The weakened business outlook highlighted recession and demand growth fears, but at the same time it may increase the chances of further action from the US central bank at its meeting next month, said analysts.

Market participants, meanwhile would be looking out for the US Federal Reserve's annual economic symposium set to take place at Jackson Hole, Wyoming from Thursday to Saturday, which comes at a time of recessionary and global growth-related concerns.

"Ahead of the Jackson Hole symposium beginning today, most markets are likely to keep a neutral, cautious stance," said OCBC Bank analysts in a note.

"Dovish or hawkish messages from Fed Chairman Powell at this meeting will likely send oil prices higher or lower," they added.

As of 0215 GMT, the US Dollar Index was up 0.1% at 98.18.

--Avantika Ramesh,

--Edited by Nurul Darni,