Oil prices were steady in volatile trade on Wednesday as the market waited for directions from the US Federal Reserve after first rising on worries about a Russian troop mobilisation and dropping on a strong US dollar and lower US gasoline demand.
The US Federal Reserve was expected to announce its third straight interest rate hike of 75 basis points Wednesday afternoon, which could further sink fuel demand. Brent futures fell 24 cents, or 0.3%, to $90.38 a barrel by 1720 GMT, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude fell 35 cents, or 0.4%, to $83.59.
That would be the lowest closes for both benchmarks since September 8. US gasoline demand over the past four weeks fell to 8.5 million barrels per day (bpd), its lowest since February, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).
“The stand-out data point is the continuing weakness in gasoline demand. It’s really what’s been haunting this market,” said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital LLC in New York.
The US Energy Information Administration reported a 1.1m barrel increase in crude stocks last week, smaller than the 2.2m barrel build analysts forecast.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 22nd, 2022.