Wednesday’s oil prices remained stable as traders awaited the U.S. Federal Reserve’s remarks in the wake of recent statistics suggesting the prospect of additional interest rate hikes, which may slow global economic growth and reduce fuel demand. After losing 1.2% on Tuesday, Brent crude futures for April delivery were up 2 cents at $83.07 per barrel by 0242 GMT. The price of April West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil futures dropped one penny to $76.35 a barrel. On Tuesday, the March WTI contract came to an end, losing 18 cents.
After recent statistics revealed stronger-than-anticipated U.S. employment and consumer price growth, the U.S. Fed is set to issue the minutes of its most recent meeting on Wednesday, which will provide traders with a glimpse of how high policymakers anticipate interest rates will go. “Weak economic data exacerbated concerns about demand in advanced nations, putting pressure on oil prices,” wrote Daniel Hynes, senior commodity analyst at ANZ Bank, in a note. “Further rate increases could reduce oil demand.” Dollar prices typically rise in response to higher interest rates, increasing the cost of oil priced in foreign currencies.
Oil prices have recently been supported by expectations of tighter global supplies and rising Chinese demand. Experts predict that China’s oil imports will reach a record high in 2023 as a result of rising demand for transportation fuel and the startup of new refineries. ANZ’s Hynes said that 10 supertankers, or roughly 20 million barrels of petroleum, will be imported from the United States by PetroChina and Unipec, the trading division of Sinopec, the largest oil refiner in Asia, next month.