Crude oil prices edged lower on Tuesday and gave back some of yesterday's rally. The decline took prices away from the recently-seen multi-month high.

Light sweet crude for May delivery fell 48 cents to $53.32 per barrel. Prices slipped as low as $52.87 in the opening moments of the session after touching above $54 on Monday.

Traders looked ahead to the Energy Information Administration data on weekly inventories, due Wednesday. Last week's report showed crude oil inventories increased 2 million barrels from the previous week. Motor gasoline inventories unexpectedly increased by 3.2 million barrels last week.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner will appear before a House Financial Services Committee hearing on the government's role in saving AIG, which has been propped up to the tune of nearly $200 billion dollars in taxpayer money.

The AIG hearing is set to kick off at 10 am ET, the same time that FDIC head Sheila Bair will testify at a Senate Banking Committee hearing on bank regulation.

The dollar remained on the defensive versus the resurgent sterling but was steady against most other majors Tuesday morning in New York. With the Dow Jones Industrial Average at its highest level in more than a month, higher-yielding currencies have seen renewed buying interest.

Crude for May rallied to $53.80, up $1.73 on Monday. Prices hit as high as $54.05 earlier in the day, the best level since January.

Speaking at a conference hosted by the Czech National Bank in Prague, Chicago Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Evans predicted that the Fed's actions would help to stabilize financial markets, which is an essential part of an economic recovery.

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