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Oil slightly up as markets focus on monetary policies

Oil prices edged higher on Tuesday as investors await major economies’ next monetary policy steps, while improved travel in China is raising hopes for increased oil consumption in the world’s second-largest oil consumer.

International benchmark Brent crude traded at $82.56 per barrel at 10.14 a.m. local time (0714 GMT), a 0.02% increase from the closing price of $82.54 a barrel in the previous trading session.

Concurrently, the American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) traded at $78.78 per barrel, up 0.02% from the previous session’s close of $78.76 per barrel.

Uncertainties about the US Federal Reserve’s future monetary policy and the central banks of European countries are putting pressure on oil prices.

In its “Beige Book” report, the Fed said general economic activity has changed “very little” in recent weeks, while growth expectations have remained largely unchanged.

New York Fed President John Williams said inflation continues to slow down but is still at a very high level.

Richmond Fed President Thomas Barkin said he would like to see more evidence of inflation in the US returning to the Fed’s 2% target, adding that the American economy is functioning well at the current level of interest rates.

Investors are monitoring China’s rising travel demand ahead of the May Day holiday, although numbers remain well below pre-COVID-19 levels.

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