Oil prices ease ahead of US Fed meeting
Singapore: Oil prices edged lower in Asian trade on Tuesday as dealers await a two-day US Federal Reserve policy meeting to find out the bank's plans for its stimulus programme.
New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in December, was down 21 cents at USD 98.47 in mid-morning trade, while Brent North Sea crude for December shed 50 cents to USD 109.11.
The Fed's Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) kicks off its meeting today.
Although the FOMC is expected to maintain its USD 85 billion-a-month asset purchase programme, investors will be closely watching for clues about when the pullback might begin.
Vanessa Tan, investment analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore, said the bank is unlikely to change course owing to the "adverse impact" of the 16-day government shutdown this month, as well as lacklustre economic data.
"Such quantitative easing would continue to buoy equities," she said.
Investors are also keeping an eye on a significant reduction in Libyan supplies, Tan said.
Production in the OPEC member was disrupted several months ago after labour unrest forced terminals to shut, slashing output to below 100,000 barrels per day. Before the shutdowns, Libya was producing between 1.5 million and 1.6 million barrels daily.
Production has increased in recent weeks, but an uptick in protests has raised concerns about exports owing to near-daily attacks and bombings that some say are pointing to a civil war.
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