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Crude falls on Fed stimulus tapering expectations

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Shutterstock photo - Oil prices slid on Friday amid expectations for the Federal Reserve to announce plans to trim its USD85 billion in monthly asset purchases either next week or early in 2014.

Fed bond purchases aim to spur recovery by driving down interest rates, weakening the dollar while they remain in place, though talk of their dismantling strengthens the greenback.

A stronger greenback makes oil a less attractive commodity on dollar-denominated exchanges.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light sweet crude futures for delivery in January traded at USD96.59 a barrel during U.S. trading, down 0.93%.

The commodity hit a session low of USD96.27 and a high of USD97.61. The January contract settled up 0.06% at USD97.50 a barrel on Thursday.

Oil futures were likely to find support at USD92.57 a barrel, the low from Dec. 2, and resistance at USD98.75 a barrel, Tuesday's high.

Benign wholesale pricing data released earlier managed to keep expectations firm that the Fed remains on course to begin dismantling its bond-purchasing program at its Dec. 17-18 policy meeting or early next year.

The Labor Department reported earlier that the U.S. producer price index fell 0.1% last month, in line with expectations, after a 0.2% decline in October.

Core producer price inflation, which excludes food and energy, rose 0.1% in November after a 0.2% increase the previous month, also in line with consensus forecasts.

Fuel inventory data released earlier this week dampened prices as well.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that U.S. crude oil inventories fell by 10.59 million barrels in the week ended Dec. 6, well beyond expectations for a decline of 2.95 million barrels, due in part to a drop in imports.

Total U.S. crude oil inventories stood at 375.2 million barrels as of last week.

The report also showed that total motor gasoline inventories increased by 6.72 million barrels, compared to expectations for a gain of 1.79 million barrels, which was bearish for crude.

Stockpiles of distillate, which include diesel and heating oil, rose by 4.54 million barrels compared to market calls for a gain of 937,000.

Meanwhile on the ICE Futures Exchange, Brent oil futures for January delivery were down 0.10% at USD108.57 a barrel, up USD11.98 from its U.S. counterpart. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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