By Geoffrey Smith Investing.com – Crude oil prices fell Monday in early trading in New York, consolidating recent gains after another weak set of US labor market data threw a question mark over the trajectory of US demand in the short term. . As of 11 AM ET (1600 GMT), futures were down 0.4% at $ 52.69 a barrel, while futures were down 0.9% at $ 55.55 a barrel. The United States, which hit an 11-month high of $ 1.5766 a gallon earlier this week, was down 1.2% at $ 1.5300 a gallon. Previously, the U.S. Department of Labor had said that nearly 1 million Americans had filed initial claims for unemployment benefits last week, reigniting concerns about a weak job market as a growing number of bars and restaurants are sinking under the pressures of the pandemic. Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported that road use in 4 major European economies, where lockdown measures have been stricter and broader, fell 37% year-on-year in the first week of 2021, underscoring the fact that that deficits in demand for refined products are not limited to jet fuel. Traders cannot ignore the signs of a bearish pandemic forever, “said Bjornar Tonhaugen, head of oil market research at Rystad Energy, in emailed comments, adding that the market needed to make a correction.” Vaccination campaigns They may be on the move, but even big words become actions and a large part of the world population is immunized, it will take a while for demand to benefit … The truth is that the market is optimistic, but this optimism leads To hold on to bullish signals to a greater extent Tonhaugen said prices should still be well supported at $ 50 for the foreseeable future, but said any gains beyond that would depend on “infection levels and demand signals.” For now, however, the signs are that production discipline by OPEC and its allies is still helping to rebalance the market. OPEC’s monthly report released early Thursday indicated that global oil stocks were now just 163 million barrels above their five-year average, which is the level used by the bloc as a benchmark. Right now, OPEC is pumping around 1.8 million barrels a day less than it expects to need this year to keep the market balanced, leading to a gradual reduction in those inventories, as evidenced by two inventory reports. US bulls this week. . OPEC left its forecast for world demand this year roughly unchanged at 95.9 million barrels per day.