Feb. 19 (UPI) -- Crude oil prices looked lower early Tuesday as a streak of five consecutive winning sessions paused amid investor caution while waiting for developments in United States and China trade talks, analysts said.
West Texas Intermediate front-month crude futures as of 9:09 a.m. were 0.5 percent lower at $55.70 per barrel, while Brent crude futures fell 0.8 percent around the same time to $65.67 per barrel.
"Brent has remained close to the 2019 high of almost $67 reached yesterday, with OPEC-led supply cuts and U.S. sanctions on Iran and Venezuela continuing to provide support, although there are ongoing jitters around slowing economic growth," Jack Allardyce, an oil and gas analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald, told UPI Tuesday.
"OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia had pledged to reduce its exports by more than its agreed quota, which was no doubt made easier by the partial shut-in of the giant Safaniyah offshore field," he said.
Meantime, there was also caution ahead of any possible news related to trade talks between China and the United States. "Traders will no doubt be apprehensive over taking significant positions ahead of any news," Allardyce said.
China and the U.S. are the world's biggest economies and a trade war between the two could threaten economic growth worldwide and affect future energy prices.
Sukrit Vijayakar, analyst at Trifecta Consultants, separately told UPI that Saudi Arabia, and the trade talks between the United States and China, are two important factors for crude oil prices, as is economic growth in other parts of the world.
As for Saudi Arabia, Vijayakar said the country's "latest cut is more involuntary than otherwise -- it should reinstate that supply when the field it has shut down for repairs goes back onstream."
"On the downside you have China growth slowing.This will hopefully correct after (if) the US-China trade talks fructify. Europe is slowing down. This cannot really be corrected. Even Germany is showing close to zero growth, so the mid-term prognosis is down," he added.
WTI and Brent saw gains in the five previous sessions. They are down from peaks of over $86 for Brent and over $76 for WTI in early October.