Oil Prices Retreat after U.S. Crude Stockpiles Rise; Fed Rate Decision in Focus

After hitting a three-month high the day before, oil prices dipped in early Asian trade on Wednesday as industry data indicated an expected rise in U.S. crude stocks. However, losses were limited by signs of tighter global supply and prospects for China’s economic stimulus.

Brent crude futures slid 38 cents, or 0.45%, to $83.26 a barrel by 09.30 A.M. Bangkok time. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was at $79.29 a barrel, down 34 cents, or 0.43%.

Market sources highlighted American Petroleum Institute data released on Tuesday, which showed a 1.32 million barrel increase in U.S. crude stockpiles in the week ending July 21. Reuters’ survey of analysts predicted a drawdown of 2.3 million barrels.

Wednesday will see the release of government data on U.S. inventories.

Most market investors anticipate a 25 basis point rate hike from the Federal Reserve by when the policy meeting ends on Wednesday.

Oil prices have risen for four weeks in a row on expectations that supplies will tighten as a result of production curbs by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies.

China, the world’s second-largest oil consumer, has also promised to increase its economic policy support.