Crude oil prices hovered around $90 a barrel during the Asian trading hours Tuesday as investors awaited the outcome of the major central bank meetings to be held later this week.
Light sweet crude for September delivery gained 0.09 percent or 8 cents to $89.86 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange during the Asian trading hours, while Brent crude oil futures for the September delivery fell 0.11 percent or 12 cents to $106.08 a barrel on the ICE futures exchange in London.
Light, sweet crude for December delivery fell 94c to $85.73/barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange as the Energy Department said inventories rose 5.9 million barrels last week.
The European Central Bank, or ECB, the U.S. Federal Reserve and the Bank of England, or BoE, are scheduled to hold policy meetings this week. Investors are optimistic that the central bankers will deliver further policy steps to tackle the deteriorating global economic conditions.
The main focus will be on the outcome of the ECB meeting Thursday as the market participants are expecting the central bank to announce new stimulus measures for the European economy. Speculations are high that the ECB may reactivate its bond purchase program to prevent Spain from evolving into a full-blown crisis.
"Press releases over the past 24 hours have further bolstered expectations for an ECB bold intervention on the peripheral bond markets, after the phone calls of Merkel with Hollande and Monti, in which the three leaders pledged to 'do everything' to save the euro zone," said a note from Credit Agricole.
Investors are also likely to focus on the outcome of the U.S. Federal Reserve's two-day meeting that will kicks off Tuesday. However, the Fed will want to wait for more data, on employment in particular, before considering any significant policy changes.
Light sweet crude for the September delivery declined 35 cents and settled at $89.78 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude oil fell $32 cents to settle at $106.15 a barrel.
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