Oil prices fell by more than $1 on Wednesday ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s interest rate decision, with investors uncertain when peak rates will be hit and how much of an impact it will have on energy demand.
Investors are awaiting the Fed’s interest rate decision at 1800 GMT on Wednesday to assess the outlook for economic growth and fuel demand. The Fed is widely expected to keep interest rates on hold, but the focus will be on its projected policy path, which is unclear.
“The oil rally is taking a little break as every trader awaits a pivotal Fed decision that might tilt the scales of whether the U.S. economy has a soft or hard landing,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at data and analytics firm OANDA.
Global benchmark Brent crude futures fell by $1.46, or 1.55%, to $92.88 a barrel by 0854 GMT.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures shed 1.43%, or $1.30, to $89.90 a barrel. The October WTI contract expires on Wednesday and the more active November contract was down $1.38, or 1.53%, to $89.10 a barrel at 0854 GMT.
Prices fell despite U.S. crude oil stockpiles falling last week by about 5.25 million barrels, according to market sources citing American Petroleum Institute figures on Tuesday. Analysts in a Reuters poll had expected a 2.2 million-barrel decline.
“Barring any unpleasant surprise, attention will likely return to the perceived supply deficit once interest rate decisions are out of the way and reaching the $100/bbl milestone remains a not-so-distant possibility,” said Tamas Varga, analyst at oil broker PVM.