Feb. 8 (UPI) -- West Texas Intermediate prices were lower early Friday morning, in part as concerns grow about the effects on crude oil demand of an extended trade war between the United States and China.
West Texas Intermediate crude future prices fell 0.5 percent to $52.38 per barrel as of 7:22 a.m. EST while Brent futures were 0.2 percent higher at $61.75 as of the same time.
"Energy had a real risk off posture yesterday with news reports indicating (U.S. President Donald) Trump will not meet with China XI before the March 1st deadline," said Tariq Zahir, managing member at Tyche Capital Advisors, told UPI.
"With production about to hit 13 million barrels a day all eyes will be on rig counts today, as well as if we continue to see a risk off posture in the overall markets," he added. On the supply side, the rising United States crude oil production has contributed to declines in crude oil prices since an Oct. 3 peak, when WTI traded at over $76 per barrel.
Separately, Jeff Yastine senior research analyst at Banyan Hill Publishing, told UPI that "as usual, oil is trading almost step for step with the stock market."
"After 6 weeks of nearly straight up action for both oil and equities, both markets need a breathe," Yastine said.
"The key to higher oil prices is improved economies in the world's emerging markets. That's starting to happen," he said.
WTI prices hit a high of $55.26 last Friday. Prices at the start of the year were just above $45 per barrel.