May 19 - Oil prices fell slightly in early Asian trade on Friday as optimism that a U.S. debt default will be avoided weighed against sticky inflation data that could portend more interest rate hikes from global central banks.
Brent futures were down 2 cents at $75.84 a barrel as of 0015 GMT. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude fell 10 cents, or 0.043%, to settle at $71.76.
Earlier this week, U.S. President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy reiterated their aim to strike a deal soon to raise the $31.4 trillion federal debt ceiling and agreed to talk as soon as Sunday.
Optimism over a deal plus data showing lower-than-expected initial jobless claims spurred the U.S. dollar on Wednesday to its highest since March 17 against a basket of currencies.
A stronger dollar can weigh on oil demand by making the fuel more expensive for holders of other currencies.
Also weighing on markets are persistently high inflation data and hawkish comments from global central banks.
Japan's core consumer prices rose 3.4% in April from a year earlier, government data showed on Friday.
The increase in the core consumer price index, which excludes volatile fresh food but includes energy costs, matched a median market forecast and followed a 3.1% rise in March.
U.S. inflation does not seem to be cooling fast enough to allow the Federal Reserve to pause its interest-rate hike campaign, according to two Fed policymakers.
Meanwhile, European Central Bank (ECB) Vice President Luis de Guindos said the ECB will have to keep raising interest rates further to bring inflation back to its mid-term goal of 2% though most of the tightening has already been done.