NYMEX-U.S. crude inches up ahead of Fed stimulus decision
SINGAPORE Dec 18 (Reuters) - U.S. oil futures edged higher on Wednesday, with investors waiting to see whether the U.S. Federal Reserve will begin curbing its massive stimulus.
Strong economic data has strengthened the likelihood the Fed, which ends a two-day meeting on Wednesday, will scale back its asset purchases, which could boost the dollar and weigh on dollar-denominated commodities.
* U.S. crude for January delivery was up 6 cents at $97.29 a barrel by 0053 GMT, after falling 26 cents the previous day.
* Brent crude dropped 97 cents to $108.44 after, declining by $1.20 on Tuesday as traders took profits from recent gains.
* U.S. crude inventories fell by 2.5 million barrels in the week to Dec. 13 to 367.8 million barrels, data from industry group the American Petroleum Institute showed on Tuesday. Analysts in a Reuters poll had expected a 2.3 million barrel drop.
* The volume of Japan's customs-cleared crude oil imports rose 10.5 percent to 3.7 million barrels per day in November from the same month a year earlier, Ministry of Finance data showed.
* The biodiesel blender tax credit, a crucial incentive for U.S. biodiesel manufacturers, could be extended next year, but not before expiring at the end of 2013, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee said Tuesday.
* Angola is set to export 1.68 million barrels per day of crude oil in February, up from 1.58 million bpd planned in January. But the African nation will no longer export the Kuito grade of crude oil highlighting concerns about dwindling production from the OPEC member.
* Russia will cut oil exports to Europe in the first quarter while boosting oil supplies to China including pumping oil via Kazakhstan, an export schedule showed on Tuesday.
* Asian shares were tentative on Wednesday as investors waited for the Fed meeting to end.
* The following data is expected on Wednesday:
- 0900 GMT Germany Ifo business climate
- 0900 GMT Germany Ifo expectations
- 1330 GMT U.S. monthly Build permits
- 1530 GMT U.S. EIA weekly crude stocks
- 1530 GMT U.S. EIA weekly dist. stocks
- 1530 GMT U.S. EIA weekly gasoline stocks
- 1900 GMT U.S. Federal funds target rate
- 1900 GMT U.S. QE total
Second day of Federal Reserve two-day meeting on monetary policy
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