Wall Street eyes crude ahead of inventories data

U.S. stock index futures declined on Wednesday, tracking European shares lower as oil prices continued to slide.

Trade volumes in the market will likely be thin given the holiday season, with commodities in focus.

Front-month Brent and U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures traded lower around $37 per barrel on Wednesday, as the market remained under pressure from slowing demand and high supply.

A Citigroup analyst warned that any upcoming oil price boost would be short-lived.

"We do have a current physical supply-demand surplus. That fits with the price theme…that prices will be lower for longer," Tim Evans, an energy analyst at the bank, told CNBC on Wednesday.

Crude oil production
Zhengzaishuru | Getty Images

Some major European energy stocks underperformed on Wednesday, including BP, which traded down around 1.5 percent on the London Stock Exchange.

Few economic data or earnings of note are due from the U.S. There will be November pending home sales at 10 a.m. and weekly crude oil inventories at 10:30 a.m.

In stock news, the Italian tax office reported on Wednesday that it had reached a deal with Apple over corporate tax payments. La Repubblica newspaper reported that the tech giant has agreed to pay 318 million euros ($348 million) to settle the office's investigation.

Global economic growth will be "disappointing" in 2016, the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in a guest article for German newspaper, Handelsblatt, published on Wednesday.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said that the prospect of rising interest rates in the U.S. and an economic slowdown in China were increasing economic uncertainty worldwide.

Saudi Arabia reported a record deficit and announced plans to cut public spending and increase revenues from non-oil sources this week, casting light on the impact from low prices on the world's top oil exporter.

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"If my inbox is anything to judge by, it's Saudi Arabia's austerity program which is driving most interest this week. That's a reminder that even the world's lowest-cost oil producer relies on high(er) prices to balance its budget and current prices don't come anywhere close," Kit Juckes, a strategist at Societe Generale, said in a research note on Wednesday.

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