Oil prices fall ahead of more central bank steers on interest rates

This aerial photo shows the Enping 15-1 oil platform 200 km southwest of Shenzhen, south China, May 31, 2023.

Mao Siqian | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images

Oil prices fell in early Asian trade on Thursday after falling by the most in a month in the previous session on U.S. interest rate hike expectations, and ahead of a steer from other central banks on their rate outlooks.

Brent futures for November delivery fell 44 cents, or 0.5%, to $89.18 a barrel by 0010 GMT. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude fell 49 cents, or 0.6%, to $89.17.

The U.S. Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged on Thursday, but stiffened its hawkish stance with a further rate increase projected by the end of the year, which could dampen economic growth and fuel demand.

Federal Reserve policymakers still see the central bank’s benchmark overnight interest rate peaking this year in the 5.50% to 5.75% range, just a quarter of a percentage point above the current range.

On Thursday, the central banks of Indonesia, the Philippines and Taiwan are widely expected to keep key lending rates on hold, so investors will be looking to policy statements for clues on future moves.

The Bank of England will also announce on Thursday whether it is halting a run of interest rate hikes that stretches back to December 2021, a day after signs that it had turned a corner in tackling Britain’s high inflation problem.

Energy markets had little reaction to U.S. energy data on Wednesday showing crude inventories fell in line with expectations last week.

That crude stock draw was driven by strong oil exports, while gasoline and diesel inventories drew down as refiners began annual autumn maintenance, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in a weekly report.