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Oil Prices Remain Stable As Investors Anticipate Fed Reserve Remarks

Charlie Brooks

Feb 22, 2023 14:06


Oil prices remained unchanged on Wednesday as investors awaited remarks from the U.S. Federal Reserve in response to recent data indicating the prospect of more interest rate rises, which may slow economic growth and reduce global fuel consumption.

Brent oil futures for April delivery rose 2 cents to $83.07 a barrel at 02:42 GMT on Wednesday, following a 1.2% decline on Tuesday. April West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil futures decreased one cent to $76.35 a barrel. On Tuesday, the March WTI contract expired 18 cents lower.

The U.S. Federal Reserve will release the minutes of its most recent meeting on Wednesday, giving traders a view of how high policymakers expect interest rates to rise in the wake of recent job and inflation figures that exceeded expectations.

But, other economic statistics from the United States, the world's largest oil consumer, revealed some concerning trends. In January, existing home sales reached their lowest level since October 2010, marking the twelfth consecutive monthly decline, the worst since 1999.

"Oil prices came under pressure... as dismal economic data prompted worries about demand in advanced nations," ANZ Bank senior commodity analyst Daniel Hynes wrote in a report. Further rate increases might reduce oil consumption.

Rising interest rates tend to increase the value of the dollar, making oil priced in dollars more costly for holders of other currencies. 

Recently, oil prices have been bolstered by expectations of tighter global supply and growing Chinese demand. Experts anticipate that China's oil imports will reach a record high in 2023 due to rising demand for transportation fuel and the introduction of new refineries.

ANZ's Hynes remarked that PetroChina and Unipec, the trading arm of Sinopec (OTC:SHIIY), Asia's largest oil refiner, had reserved 10 supertankers to import oil from the U.S. next month, equivalent to around 20 million barrels of crude.