Oil futures were stagnant early Wednesday as investors anxiously awaited news from the Federal Reserve. Both U.S. and global benchmarks were trading slightly higher after reaching their lowest levels in almost six months.
- West Texas Intermediate crude for January delivery gained 28 cents, or 0.4%, to $68.87 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
- February Brent crude, the global benchmark, gained 21 cents, or 0.3%, to $73.45 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe. On Tuesday, Brent and WTI oil reached their lowest contract settlements since June 27.
- January gasoline increased by 0.2% to $1.98 a gallon, while January heating oil rose by 1.2% to $2.538 a gallon on Nymex.
- Natural gas for January delivery increased by 0.2% to $2.32 per million British thermal units.
Market participants around the world are eagerly anticipating remarks from Fed Chairman Jerome Powell on Wednesday. Not only will the central bank announce its latest decision on interest rates, it will also release an updated policy statement and fresh economic projections.
According to strategists, an inflation report released in the U.S. on Tuesday contributed to the decline in oil prices. Many believe that Wednesday’s Fed press conference could have a significant impact on trading across various markets.
“Crude prices dropped sharply yesterday, and the sell-off accelerated after the release of the latest US inflation numbers,” said David Morrison, senior market analyst at Trade Nation.