- Crude oil prices were steady to higher in Asia on Friday ahead of Chinese data on producer and consumer prices.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude oil for delivery in June traded at $100.30 a barrel, up 0.04%, after hiitning an overnight session low of $99.88 a barrel and a high of $100.93 a barrel.The June contract settled up 1.28% at $100.77 a barrel on Wednesday.

Brent crude on the ICE futures exchange fell 9 cents, or 0.1%, to $108.04 a barrel.

At 0930 in Beijing (0130 GMT), China''s April CPI and PPI data are due. April CPI is forecast at a gain of 2.0% year-on-yeary and a drop of 0.1% on month. PPI is forecast to fall 1.9% year-on-year.

Concerns that Ukraine will descend into civil war eased after President Putin called on separatists in the eastern reaches of the country to postpone their referendum on independence, and added that Russia had withdrawn its forces from the border.

The crisis has supported oil prices on fears escalating conflict could affect shipments out of Russia, the world''s second-largest exporter after Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile in the U.S., the Department of Labor reported that number of individuals filing for unemployment assistance last week fell by 26,000 to 319,000 from the previous week’s revised total of 345,000.

Analysts had expected jobless claims to fall by 20,000 to 325,000, and the upbeat numbers in the U.S. and China, the world''s largest and second-largest consumers of crude, respectively, supported the growth-sensitive commodity.

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