Stock OPEC
The OPEC members pumped 920,000 barrels per day below targeted volumes in January. Image Credit: Reuters

Oil prices remained relatively stable after OPEC and its allies stuck to their output policy while the market awaits a US interest rate decision and data on US crude and fuel stockpiles later on Wednesday.

Brent crude futures were down 14 cents, or 0.1 per cent, at $85.33 a barrel by 1419 GMT (6.19pm in UAE). West Texas Intermediate (WTI) US crude futures rose 13 cents, or 0.2 per cent, to $79.00.

Ministers from the OPEC+ producer group comprising the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies including Russia kept their output policy unchanged at a virtual meeting on Wednesday.

OPEC’s oil output fell in January, as Iraqi exports dropped and Nigerian output did not recover, with the 10 OPEC members pumping 920,000 barrels per day (bpd) below OPEC+ targeted volumes, a Reuters survey found.

The shortfall was bigger than the 780,000 bpd deficit in December.

Elsewhere, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister said he expected oil demand to rise on the back of Chinese economic activity.

Tamer US rate hike expectations helped to lower the dollar index, which supported oil prices, said PVM analyst Stephen Brennock. A weaker US currency makes dollar-priced oil cheaper for buyers holding other currencies.

The US Federal Reserve is expected to deliver its interest rate decision at 1900 GMT (11pm in UAE).