Oil steadies as investors await U.S. Fed Reserve comments
Oil prices were steady on Wednesday as investors await the U.S. Federal Reserve’s comments after recent data pointed to the possibility of more interest rates hikes, which may lower economic growth and limit global fuel demand.
Brent crude futures for April delivery were up 2 cents to $83.07 a barrel by 0242 GMT after falling 1.2% on Tuesday. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures for April were down a cent to $76.35 a barrel. The March WTI contract expired on Tuesday down 18 cents.
The U.S. Fed will release the minutes of its latest meeting on Wednesday, which will give traders a glimpse of how high officials are projecting interest rates will go after recent data showed stronger-than-expected U.S. employment and consumer prices.
Other economic reports from the U.S., the world’s biggest oil consumer, showed some troubling signs however. Sales of existing homes fell in January to their lowest since October 2010, the 12th monthly drop, which is the longest streak since 1999.
“Oil prices came under pressure … as weak economic data raised concerns about demand in advanced economies,” said Daniel Hynes, senior commodity strategist at ANZ Bank, in a note. “Further rate hikes could dampen oil demand.”
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