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Weak Japanese data weighs on oil markets

Kuwait's oil minister Ali al-Omair said on Monday he does not believe there would be a summit of oil producing countries before Opec's next meeting in December.

[SINGAPORE] Oil markets remained subdued in early trading in Asia on Friday after weak data from Japan reinforced concerns over global economic growth.

Japan's core consumer prices fell 0.1 per cent in August from a year earlier, government data showed on Friday, marking the first year-on-year drop since April 2013. The index includes oil products but excludes fresh food prices.

HSBC cautioned not to over-focus on weak China data, arguing that fully developed economies were also slowing. "It turns out that developed market imports haven't been anywhere near as robust as relatively upbeat local demand data would suggest... For all their recent swagger, developed markets are hardly firing on all cylinders. So, don't just blame China," the bank said on Friday.

Globally traded Brent futures were at US$48.13 per barrel at 0049 GMT, down four cents from their last close. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures were slightly firmer, at US$44.95 a barrel, up 4 cents from their last settlement.

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Oil prices rose by over a quarter in late August after a slowing rig count and a reduction in US crude stocks implied a tightening North American market.

Yet a global oversupply that analysts estimate at 2.5 million barrels per day remains largely in place due to high production elsewhere, for instance in Russia and the Middle East, while demand is slowing, and oil prices have fallen back 10 per cent since the beginning of September.