Crude oil futures trade near 4-month low after Fed

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Investing.com - " Crude oil futures traded near a four-month low on Thursday, amid expectations that a reduction in U.S. monetary stimulus is still possible by the end of the year.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light sweet crude futures for delivery in December traded at USD96.64 a barrel during European morning trade, down 0.15%.

New York-traded oil futures traded in a range between USD96.38 a barrel, the daily low and a session high of USD96.76 a barrel.

The December contract ended down 1.46% on Wednesday to settle at USD96.77 a barrel, the lowest closing price since July 1.

Oil futures were likely to find support at USD95.95 a barrel, the low from October 24 and resistance at USD98.80 a barrel, the high from October 28.

The Fed said on Wednesday that it would keep buying USD85 billion a month in mortgage and Treasury securities, as widely expected.

Fed officials stuck to the view that the economy is expanding "at a moderate pace" and said downside risks were diminishing, sparking speculation the central bank could start tapering stimulus at its December meeting.

Later in the day, the U.S. was to release data on initial jobless claims and a report on manufacturing activity in the Chicago region.

Oil traders have closely been looking out for U.S. data reports recently to gauge if they will strengthen or weaken the case for the Fed to reduce its bond purchases.

Traders remained concerned about rising U.S. inventories and weaker demand in the world's largest oil consumer.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report on Wednesday that U.S. crude oil inventories rose by 4.1 million barrels last week to 383.9 million barrels, the highest level since June.

U.S. crude prices have been on a downward trend in recent weeks amid concerns the recent U.S. government shutdown created a drag on economic growth and eroded demand in the world's largest oil consumer.

Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange, Brent oil futures for December delivery dipped 0.45% to trade at USD109.38 a barrel, with the spread between the Brent and crude contracts standing at USD12.74 a barrel, the widest gap since April.

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