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Oil recovers as market awaits US Fed decision on monetary policy

TOKYO--The price of oil recouped slips earlier in the week as the market waited Wednesday to see what the U.S. Federal Reserve would decide on monetary policy.

Benchmark U.S. crude for January delivery gained 22 cents to US$97.44 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Depending on what the Fed does, the dollar could strengthen, making commodities priced in dollars more costly for overseas investors.

Natural gas stood at US$4.30, while natural gas futures rose 1 cent, or 0.3 percent, to US$4.30 per US$1,000 cubic feet.

Markets are also monitoring fresh information on U.S. stockpiles of crude and refined products.

Data for the week ending Dec. 12 are expected to show a draw of 4 million barrels in crude oil stocks and a build of 1.4 million barrels in gasoline stocks, according to a survey of analysts by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, dipped 9 cents to US$108.35 a barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline was little changed to stand at US$2.66 a gallon.

— Heating oil was also unchanged at US$2.96.

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