Jan. 16 (UPI) -- Crude oil future prices fell early Wednesday, likely influenced by lower-than-expected draws in a report by the American Petroleum Institute with traders awaiting official data later in the day.
West Texas Intermediate front-month crude future prices fell 1 percent to $51.59 per barrel as of 8:15 a.m. EST while Brent front-month futures declined 0.6 percent to $60.24 per barrel.
"It looks as though benchmarks are paring yesterday's gains following the disappointing API figures (lower-than-expected crude draw, large product builds) and rejection of Mrs. Theresa May's Brexit deal last night," Jack Allardyce, an oil and gas analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald, told UPI.
The Energy Information Administration today will publish official data on inventory levels in the United States, the world's biggest producer of crude oil.
"Focus will be on the official EIA figures released today, with bulls hoping that OPEC and Russia's production cuts are beginning to curb oversupply and that fuel inventories are more indicative of healthy demand amidst the raft of newsflow on the global economy," he added.
OPEC and Russia agreed on Dec. 7 to reduce output by 1.2 million barrels per day starting in January.
"Crude prices gained three percent on Tuesday, alongside global equity markets, supported by new policies aimed at stabilizing China's slowing economy," he added.
Concern about a slowdown in China has impacted crude oil markets for the past months, as China is the world's leading crude oil importer, and also a large exporter and importer.
Separately, Amir Hekmati, oil futures trader at Lucid Energy, told UPI that he sees WTI staying above $50 per barrel, while concerns about the crude oil market lacking balance may diminish in coming months.
"We're seeing strong support at the $50 level, as Saudi output cuts and resumed China imports of U.S. crude seem to have temporarily put a floor on price. We predict that by early March supply and demand will likely balance," Hekmati said.