World oil prices were mixed in Asian trade today as investors await the end of the US Federal Reserve’s closely watched policy meeting to find out its plans for its stimulus programme.
New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate crude for delivery in October, was up 18 cents at $ 105.60 in the morning trade, while Brent North Sea crude for November fell 36 cents to $107.83.
With the threat of military action in Syria receding, attention has turned to the outcome of the Fed’s two-day meeting, with expectations for a reduction in its $85-billion-a-month bond purchases, known as quantitative easing.
Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke will make a statement after the meeting before holding a news conference.
“The Fed is expected to announce the long-awaited decision to taper asset purchases,” DBS Bank said in a market commentary, adding that market consensus is for a “cautious” reduction of about $15-20 billion.
“The Fed’s first order of business will be to reassure global markets that the taper will not derail the recovery,” DBS said.
US military strikes
Oil prices rose to multi-month highs this month on fears that the US would launch military strikes against Syria to punish the Assad regime for its alleged use of chemical weapons on its own people.
But the prices eased after a US-Russia deal that will see Syria’s toxic arsenal destroyed has averted an attack for now.
News that Libya has resumed some oil production has also helped put downward pressure on prices. Protests by oil field workers since July had crippled Libyan production.