Crude oil prices declined in Asian trade Wednesday as the Federal Reserve released minutes from a recent meeting dashed hopes for a fresh dose of quantitative easing (QE3) in the near future.
Light sweet crude for May delivery declined 1.6 percent to $103.54 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange during Asian trading hours. Brent crude oil futures for May delivery fell 0.65 percent to $124.62 a barrel on the ICE futures exchange in London.
The Fed Minutes noted that only a couple of members believed that additional stimulus might be needed if the economy lost momentum or inflation remained too low for too long.
The Fed comments had an influence on oil prices, more for the US market than Brent and that's why we saw the Brent/WTI spread widening. Brent was supported by supply side disruptions in the North Sea, Natalie Robertson, a commodities strategist with ANZ Bank in Melbourne, told Reuters.
Prices were pressured by a Reuters report that Saudi Arabia was likely to keep output high in the event consumer countries release strategic oil reserves.
Meanwhile, the American Petroleum Institute showed a larger-than-expected rise in crude stocks in the United States last week.