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Oil slips as investors weigh Fed rate decision

Published 03/19/2024, 09:21 PM
Updated 03/20/2024, 02:57 PM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A flare burns excess natural gas in the Permian Basin in Loving County, Texas, U.S. November 23, 2019.  REUTERS/Angus Mordant//File Photo

By Nicole Jao

NEW YORK (Reuters) -Oil prices fell on Wednesday as the U.S. Federal Reserve held interest rate steady and demand concerns continue to weigh.

Brent crude futures for May settled down $1.43, or 1.64%, at $85.95 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures for April delivery, which expire on Wednesday, ended $1.79, or 2.14%, lower at $81.68.

The more active May WTI contract settled down $1.46 at $81.27 a barrel.

Brent had settled at its highest since Oct. 31 in the previous session at $87.38 a barrel, while WTI hit its highest since Oct. 27 at $83.47.

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve kept interest rates in the 5.25% to 5.50% range, but policymakers indicated they still expect to reduce them by three-quarters of a percentage point by the end of 2024.

The Fed's rate decision was within expectations and the impact on oil markets was limited, said Andrew Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates.The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said crude oil stockpiles fell unexpectedly last week as exports rose and refiners continued to increase activity. [EIA/S]

The draw in crude oil inventories was due to higher refinery runs and strong crude oil exports, said Matt Smith, lead oil analyst at Kpler.

The American Petroleum Institute also reported crude oil and gasoline stockpiles fell last week, while distillate inventories rose, according to sources. [API/S]

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A flare burns excess natural gas in the Permian Basin in Loving County, Texas, U.S. November 23, 2019.  REUTERS/Angus Mordant//File Photo

Elsewhere, Ukrainian attacks on Russian refining assets have helped propel crude prices higher as market participants assessed the impact on crude and fuel supply balances.

"If these disruptions are prolonged, it could eventually force Russian producers to reduce supply if they are unable to export all of this crude oil," ING analyst Warren Patterson said.

Latest comments

USA sold more then 50% of its reserves in gasoline to keep the price low, they cant do it forever, the price will skyrocket soon
Manipulation, market will turn back tomorrow
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