Investing.com - Oil prices turned lower on Thursday as a White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett warned that there would likely be more cases like Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) as the U.S. and China push forward with trade negotiations.
New York-traded West Texas Intermediate crude futures fell 44 cents, or 0.97%, at $44.97 a barrel by 11:11 AM ET (16:11 GMT), pulling back from an intraday low of $45.38 following Hassett’s remarks.
Meanwhile, Brent crude futures, the benchmark for oil prices outside the U.S., inched back one cent, or 0.02%, to $54.92, after having declined as far as $53.95.
Crude prices marked intraday lows as an interview between Hassett and CNN hit the wires in which he said that there would likely be “a heck of lot of companies" that are going to be watching their earnings downgraded until there's a deal with China.
Markets have been cautious as the prospect for slower global economic growth would have a negative effect on oil prices due to the potential for softer petroleum demand.
China’s manufacturing sector saw a contraction in December, with weakness attributed to the ongoing trade tensions with the U.S.
In his remarks, Hassett was confident that, although the current situation meant lower earnings for American companies in the short term, the economic downturn would pile pressure on China to make a trade deal.
“If we have a successful negotiation with China, then Apple's sales and everybody else's sales will recover ... But right now China is feeling the blow really of our tariffs,” Hassett emphasized.
On the data front, investors will pay close attention to the latest readings on U.S. inventories.
The American Petroleum Institute will release its weekly report on crude stockpiles at 4:30 PM ET (21:30 GMT), while official government figures are due on Friday amid expectations for a draw of 2.3 million barrels.
In other energy trading, gasoline futures rose 0.89% to $1.3332 a gallon by 11:14 AM ET (16:14 GMT), while heating oil gained 0.90% to $1.7159 a gallon.
Lastly, natural gas futures traded down 1.66% to $2.909 per million British thermal units.