The price of oil showed little change Wednesday after the minutes of the last Federal Reserve meeting indicated that policymakers intend to soon begin winding down the central bank’s economic stimulus.
Benchmark U.S. crude for December delivery fell 1 cent to close at $93.31 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The more heavily traded January Nymex contract slipped 4 cents to $93.85.
Members of the Federal Reserve agreed last month that they would likely start reducing their bond purchases in coming months if the job market improved further. They also weighed the possibility of slowing the purchases even without clear evidence of a strengthening job market.
The Fed’s bond purchases have been intended to keep long-term borrowing rates low to spur spending and growth.
Meanwhile, the Energy Department said crude oil supplies rose by 400,000 barrels for the week ending Nov. 15, the 9th straight weekly increase. But gasoline supplies fell by 300,000 barrels, and the agency said the average demand for gasoline over the past four weeks was about 4 percent higher than for the same period last year.
Oil has traded between $93 and $96 a barrel this month and is down from nearly $110 a barrel in early October due to ample supplies and tepid demand.
At the gas pump, the average price for a gallon of gasoline stayed at $3.21, down 14 cents from a month ago and 20 cents cheaper than at this time last year, according to AAA.
Brent crude, the benchmark for an international variety of crude, gained $1.14 to $108.06 a barrel, for January delivery, on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
In other energy futures trading on Nymex:
- Wholesale gasoline gained 2 cents to $2.66 gallon.
- Heating oil added 5 cents to $2.95 a gallon.
- Natural gas gained 12 cents to $3.67 per 1,000 cubic feet.