SINGAPORE U.S. crude oil futures were steady in lackluster early Asian trading on Friday as liquidity faded ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday across large parts of the region.

U.S. crude futures CLc1 were trading at $31.73 per barrel at 0023 GMT, virtually unchanged from the previous close, and traders said liquidity was low due to the Lunar New Year holiday which will last for most of next week.

Oil prices were extremely volatile for much of this week as a string of bullish indicators like a slump in the dollar .DXY and potential talks by major oil producers about output cuts in support of prices clashed with bearish reports of record U.S. crude inventories, increasing production and a further slowdown in the global economy.

But overall the market outlook remains bearish as long as producers don’t reach an agreement on output, with China’s economic slowdown now showing signs of spreading across the world.

“In spite of the record crude oil production … demand for shipping is disappointing,” said commodities brokerage Marex Spectron.

“The macroeconomic environment is bearish. Global industrial production, manufacturing and automotive demand indices all point towards weakening demand.”

(Reporting by Henning Gloystein; Editing by Joseph Radford)

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U.S. crude prices steady in thin Asian trading ahead of Lunar New Year
| Reuters