Oil prices inch down; Crude stockpile data, Fed meeting minutes in focus


Oil prices inched down on Thursday in Asia after data showed crude inventories rose more than expected last week.

U.S. Crude Oil WTI Futures inched down 0.1% to $52.53 by 1:17 AM ET (05:17 GMT). International Brent Oil Futures fell 0.2% to $58.23.

The Energy Information Administration said crude inventories rose by about 2.9 million barrels for the week ended Oct. 4. Analysts were expecting a rise of 1.4 million, according to forecasts compiled by .

Gasoline inventories sank by 1.2 million barrels, versus expectations for a drop of about 260,000. Distillate stockpiles dropped by about 3.9 million barrels, compared with forecasts for a decline of about 2.1 million.

Oil prices were already under pressure earlier in the day after minutes from the Federal Reserve’s September meeting, published on Wednesday, showed market participants may be anticipating more rate cuts than the central bank deemed necessary to stimulate the economy.

So far this year, the Fed has conducted two quarter-point rate cuts back to back in July and September, to try and preserve the U.S. economy’s record decade-long growth. Market participants expect the Fed to agree on another quarter point cut when it meets Oct 29-30.

Traders also awaited more clarity on the Sino-U.S. trade talks as high-level officials from the two sides resumed trade talks this week.

Some reports said Chinese negotiators are not optimistic about reaching a broad agreement that would end the trade war between the two sides, and that the China delegation is planning to leave Washington on Thursday instead of Friday as previously planned.

However, other reports suggested that China is still open to a partial deal with the U.S., and even offered more purchases of U.S.-made agricultural products.

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