Oil Gains Little as Traders Weigh China Rate Cut, Fed Comments

Early Wednesday morning Asian trade saw oil prices inching higher on the back of solid U.S. economic data and expectations of rising demand in Asia, however; investors remained wary ahead of fresh clues on U.S. monetary policy.

Brent oil futures rose 0.32% to $76.14 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose 0.31% to $71.41 a barrel by 10.10 A.M. Bangkok time. 

Tuesday’s rate cut in China provided little support for the market, as certain traders had hoped for a more significant reduction in mortgage rates. 

Analysts expect additional stimulus as China fights for recovery this year, but the rate cut raised optimism of increasing demand in the world’s top oil importer.

Also, analysts expect Indian fuel demand to rise as the aviation sector grows.

Investors continue to watch for U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell to testify before Congress later today in the hopes that the central bank will provide more clarity on monetary policy after sending contradictory signals last week. The Fed has temporarily halted its rate-hike cycle, although further raises in interest rates are expected later in the year.