Oil Steadies After Weekly Slide, Europe Outages Support



Reuters

NEW YORK, July 29 (Reuters) - Brent crude nudged higher on Monday as supply disruptions in Europe helped halt last week's losses, while cautious investors waited for the results of this week's U.S. Federal Reserve meeting.

Disruptions in Libya, Iraq and elsewhere have removed well over 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) from the market. Other suppliers, such as Sudan, might have their exports reduced in the coming weeks, analysts say. North Sea benchmark Forties crude flows have been curbed due to maintenance.

The lost production helped bolster a market that has been worrying about the prospects for fuel demand as a number of economies, including China, experience slower growth.

Policymakers at the U.S. central bank will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss monetary policy and are expected to issue a statement on Wednesday afternoon.

"It's going to be really difficult to knock the market down before the Fed statement," said Phil Flynn, an analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.

"Even though fundamentals seem to show that the prices should be lower, the Fed's promise of quantitative easing could support the market."

Brent crude gained 28 cents to settle at $107.45 per barrel after slipping 0.8 percent last week, the largest weekly decline since May. U.S. oil slipped 15 cents to settle at $104.55. The North Sea benchmark's premium over its U.S. counterpart widened to 3 dollars.


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