Oil prices defied worries over war in the Middle East and OPEC+ production cuts with a slump to five-month lows overnight, and are headed for their steepest annual drop since the lockdown year of 2020.

Brent crude futures have fallen more than 20% from highs in late September and were sold down to their cheapest since late June, after a bigger-than-expected jump in U.S. gasoline inventories indicated dull demand over the Thanksgiving holiday.

That overshadowed Wednesday's meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who discussed further cooperation on prices.

For the year, Brent is down more than 13% and, at $74.64 a barrel, is settling into a range. That is good news for inflation, for bonds, and for the chances of interest rate cuts in 2024.

Treasury yields crept up slightly in Asia trade on Thursday, although that isn't unusual following a strong rally in bonds in New York. Ten year yields hit three-month lows overnight before rising 2 basis points in Asia to 4.14%.

Second-tier data on the European and U.S. calendars later in the day is headlined by German industrial figures and U.S. weekly jobs claims, with U.S. non-farm payrolls the main event on Friday.

On Wednesday, data showed that U.S. labour costs fell last quarter, that private hiring had stabilised, and that pay increases slowed down - adding to evidence that the economy is slowing.

In sum, it makes for a benign backdrop to central bank meetings in Europe, the U.S. and Japan in the coming weeks.

In Asia on Thursday, Chinese trade data showed exports grew for the first time in six months in November, although imports unexpectedly shrank.

Chinese stocks plumbed new lows, with Moody's downgrade of China's sovereign debt outlook earlier this week putting additional pressure on Chinese assets.

The blue-chip CSI300 index hit its weakest since early 2019 and the Hang Seng - which is down almost 9% in just 10 trading days - fell to a 13-month low.

Key developments that could influence markets on Thursday:

Economics: German industrial output, British home prices, final Euro zone GDP, U.S. jobless claims

(Reporting by Tom Westbrook; Editing by Edmund Klamann)