Crude oil futures retreated in the domestic and overseas market on Thursday as investors and speculators exited positions in the energy commodity as soft US data signaled sluggishness in the economy of the world’s biggest fuel consuming nation, clouding demand outlook.
US services growth cooled in February as the gauge fell to 53.4 from January’s 53.5, factory orders grew by a less than expected 1.6 per cent in January while jobless claims climbed 6,000 to 278,000 last week.
A rise in US storage levels to the highest level since 1930, also dampened sentiment.
The losses in the fuel were curbed by speculation that leading global oil producers may reach an agreement this month to stabilize output levels and help combat a growing supply glut.
Venezuela said that 15 oil producing nations will attend a meeting later this month to hold discussions on a plan to freeze output.
Oil may trade on a cautious note today ahead of the US jobs data which may offer further cues over the health of the labour market of the world’s biggest economy.
At the MCX, Crude oil futures, for the March 2016 contract, closed at Rs 2,337 per barrel, down by 0.17 per cent, after opening at 2,353, against the previous close price of Rs 2,341. It touched an intraday low of Rs 2,313.