Investing.com - Crude oil futures swung between small gains and losses on Wednesday, as markets were jittery ahead of the Federal Reserve's upcoming policy statement.
Investors also looked ahead to the release of key U.S. weekly supply data to gauge the strength of oil demand from the world's largest consumer.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light sweet crude futures for delivery in September traded at USD103.31 a barrel during European morning trade, up 0.2%.
New York-traded oil prices held in a tight range between USD103.06 a barrel, the daily low and a session high of USD103.46 a barrel.
Nymex prices fell to USD102.69 a barrel on Tuesday, the weakest level since July 9.
Investors remained cautious ahead of the Fed's policy statement, as recent U.S. economic reports fuelled uncertainty on when the central bank could begin to taper its bond-buying program.
On Tuesday, the Conference Board said its index of consumer confidence fell to 80.3 in July, from a reading of 82.1 the previous month, compared to expectations for a decline to 81.4.
A separate report showed that the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller Composite-20 house price index rose to an annualized rate of 12.2% in May, from 12.1% the previous month, compared to expectations for an increase to 12.4%.
In addition, market participants are awaiting the release of U.S. growth figures for the second quarter scheduled for later in the session for indications of how the economic recovery is progressing.
Oil traders were also awaiting data from the U.S. government on oil and fuel supplies later in the day to gauge the strength of demand from the world's largest oil consumer.
The report was expected to show that U.S. crude oil stockpiles declined by 2.3 million barrels last week, while gasoline inventories were forecast to fall by 0.8 million barrels.
After markets closed Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, said that U.S. crude inventories fell by 0.7 million barrels last week, compared to expectations for a decline of 3 million barrels.
The API also said gasoline stockpiles surged 1.8 million barrels.
Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange, Brent oil futures for September delivery eased down 0.1% to trade at USD106.82 a barrel, with the spread between the Brent and crude contracts standing at USD3.51 a barrel.
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