Singapore: Oil was lower in Asian trade Tuesday as investors paused ahead of a US central bank meeting, hoping for clear signals on stimulus measures.
New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for delivery in September, was down 27 cents at USD 104.28 a barrel in mid-morning trade, and Brent North Sea crude for September eased 13 cents to USD 107.32.
Analysts said investors were taking a breather from a recent rally while waiting for a meeting today of the US central bank's policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC).
Focus will be on a clear timeline for the Fed to reel in its USD 85 billion-a-month stimulus programme, with some analysts saying it could come as early as September.
"At the July 30-31 FOMC meeting, we expect an ambiguous signal from the Fed about the exact timing of tapering, causing markets to rethink whether September really is a done deal," analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch said in a note.
"The majority of voters (in the committee) are likely still looking to move before year-end," they said.
"However, given the weak GDP and inflation data, there probably is not a strong consensus about exactly when to pull the trigger."