Oil Prices Fall as Markets Await Clarity on Fed’s Rate Hike

Oil prices dropped slightly on Tuesday, wiping out some of the previous session’s gains, as investors awaited further information on the Federal Reserve’s plans for rate hikes.

Brent futures for March delivery fell 50 cents to $79.15 a barrel, a 0.63% drop, by 9.55 AM (Thai time). U.S. crude fell 42 cents, or 0.56%, to $74.21 per barrel.

The US Fed has said that new inflation data due out later this week would help them consider whether or not to slow the pace of interest rate hikes at their upcoming meeting, to only a quarter point increase rather than the higher leaps they made for most of 2022.

Later today, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell will speak at a central bank conference, and his remarks could provide indications about the Fed’s future course of action.

After falling to its lowest level in seven months the previous session, the Dollar Index gained 0.1% on early Tuesday. Oil prices are quoted in dollars, therefore as the value of the greenback rises, oil becomes more expensive for consumers in other currencies.

According to records and sources cited by Reuters, China has granted a second batch of crude import quotas for 2023, bringing the total for this year up by 20% from the same time last year.