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Oil prices recover ground ahead of Fed

News Date: 16/3/2016 02:03:41
Oil prices recovered some of its losses on Wednesday after a weekly report by the American Petroleum Institution showed a smaller buildup in U.S. crude inventories than forecast, easing some of the oversupply concerns, but investors remain giddy as Iran is holding on to its promise to up its production by a third to reach pre-sanctions levels in order to regain its previous market shares.

Brent crude futures rise half a dollar, or 1.25% to trade at $39.22 a barrel, inching closer again to the coveted $40 level, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures added nearly 60 cents, or 1.60% to hover around $36.91 a barrel.

Asian shares made mixed results ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve's decisions later today, with Japan's Nikkei index falling 0.73% to below 17,000 again, while Australian stocks rose 0.15%. China's Shanghai index rose as well, registering a 0.50% profit, while South Korea's KOSPI index edged up 0.22% no near multi-month highs.

The dollar was tentatively higher in Asian trading, with its index climbing 0.13% to trade at 96.79, while the euro slipped 0.12% against the greenback to 1.1096. Japan's yen skidded 0.26% to 113.44, while Britain's pound relinquished 0.18% versus the dollar to hover around 1.4125.

Investors await the Federal Reserve's decisions and clues today after a two-day meeting, with forecasters expecting the members to leave the overnight interest rates unchanged at below 0.50%, after raising them for the first time in a decade last December> The bank will probably cut its inflation projections, dragging the dollar lower.

On the other hand, the U.S. Consumer Price Index is expected to have fallen 0.2% m/m in February, compared with January's no-change reading, which could be another bad sign for the dollar today.

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