Brent Strong Ahead of U.S. Fed Meeting
Brent crude oil began Tuesday trading steadily at $113.56 as investors awaited the results of the U.S. monetary policy meeting set to conclude on Wednesday.
The Federal Reserve meeting is expected to keep short term interest rates low at its policy meeting this week in an effort to jumpstart the economy. Investors will be scouring the results of the meeting in search for clues about the health of the number one oil consuming nation.
Also in the forefront of the markets this week is U.S. nonfarm payroll data, due out on Friday. Many economists are expecting the figures to show unemployment unchanged in January after the U.S. economy created 155,000 jobs.
On the demand side, the momentum in the U.S. has kept prices elevated while geopolitical risk has kept a floor under Brent prices.
Tension throughout the Middle East has continued to stoke fears of a supply interruption as the strained relationship between Iran and the West grows worse. According to Reuters, the nation announced that it had sent a live money in to space.
The announcement, made on Monday, demonstrated the region's missile systems which could potentially be used with nuclear warheads.
Civil unrest in Egypt also elevated Brent prices as protestors continued to demonstrate along the Suez Canal even after President Mohamed Mursi declared a state of emergency and imposed a curfew. Protestors claim their demonstrations, which have often turned violent and killed at least 51 people, are designed to overthrow Mursi.
Problems in Africa also added to supply concerns after an oil pipeline was attacked in northern Algerian, resulting in the death of two guards and at least seven other wounded people. The attack is suspected to have been carried out by Islamist militants, the same group involved in the Algerian energy field hostage crisis.
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