About The Author

Phil Flynn

Phil Flynn is writer of The Energy Report, a daily market commentary discussing oil, the Middle East, American government, economics, and their effects on the world's energies markets, as well as other commodity markets. Contact Mr. Flynn at (888) 264-5665

[Daniel J. Graeber, UPI]

Crude oil prices were in relatively stable territory in early Wednesday trading in a waiting game over supply and demand data, ignoring U.S. GDP figures.

Crude oil prices slipped into negative territory during the previous session on anticipation of swelling U.S. crude oil inventories. An early-week survey from commodity pricing group S&P Global Platts showed an expected gain of 2.1 million barrels of oil last week, while the American Petroleum Institute reported a gain of 933,000 barrels in U.S. crude oil inventories.

Inventories in the world’s largest economy matter for traders and investors because it’s indicative of supply and demand. A market tilted toward the supply side eventually pushed the price of crude oil below $30 per barrel and members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries are working to drain the overhang on the global market through coordinated production cuts.

Demand levels, meanwhile, are contributing to overall market balance and indices show U.S. consumer confidence at its highest level in nearly two decades.

“Demand is anything but lackluster,” Phil Flynn, the senior market analyst for the PRICE Futures Group in Chicago, said in market commentary emailed to UPI.

The price of crude oil was gaining ground slightly early Wednesday. The price for Brent crude oil, the global benchmark, was up 0.18 percent as of 9:17 a.m. EST to $66.64 per barrel. West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark for the price of oil, was up 0.37 percent to $63.24 per barrel.

The price of oil will be influenced by inventory data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, which is due out about an hour after the market opens. Deviance in either direction from API figures would move the price of oil in kind.

For the broader economy, the U.S. Commerce Department reported real gross domestic product during the fourth quarter increased at an annual rate of 2.5 percent, compared with a 3.2 percent increase during the third quarter. The downturn was a reflection of lower private inventory investments, which was offset somewhat by local and federal government spending.

“Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased,” the Commerce Department’s brief stated.



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