Brent Edges Up on Fed Reassurance
Brent crude oil edged up on Wednesday morning and traded at $113.20 at 10:34 GMT. The price increase was attributed largely to US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's reassurance that the Fed was on track with its asset buying stimulus plan.
After prices plummeted following the release of minutes from a Fed meeting which indicated that several members were uneasy about continuing with the central bank's economic stimulus plan, Bernanke went on record saying the Fed had no plans to end the program ahead of schedule. His statements eased the markets and provided support for crude oil.
Tension in the Middle East also lent support as the West's strained relationship with Iran kept investors worried about supply interruption. Iran's disputed nuclear program has long supported oil prices as Western diplomats try to cut funding to the program through heavy sanctions. This week, world powers met with Iranian officials to negotiate the easing of current sanctions in exchange for a promise to curb the nuclear program.
However, according to Reuters the talks were inconclusive and a new meeting in Istanbul is set to take place in March.
Brent prices have fallen recently as signs of a global economic recovery began to wane. Deadlocked Italian elections have many worrying about the fate of the eurozone as the optimism over the region's recovery is overshadowed by political uncertainty.
The trouble in Europe coupled with poor PMI data in China and fears that US budget cuts will wreak havoc on the oil consuming giant's economy have given some analysts reason to believe prices could fall as low as $108 in the coming weeks.
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