Investing.com - Crude oil prices in Asia were flat on Thursday after gains overnight on prospects for economic growth in the United States lifting demand and leading toa stronger dollar, offsetting a bearish report on U.S. crude stock levels.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude for delivery in May traded at $99.14 a barrel, down 0.03%, after hitting an overnight session low of $98.36 a barrel and a high of $99.22 a barrel.
Brent crude on the ICE futures exchange fell 94 cents, or 0.9%, to $105.85 a barrel on Wednesday.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that U.S. crude oil inventories rose by 5.9 million barrels in the week ended March 14, above expectations for an increase of 2.6 million barrels.
Total U.S. crude oil inventories stood at 375.9 million barrels as of last week.
The report also showed that total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 1.5 million barrels, in line with forecasts, while distillate stockpiles declined by 3.1 million barrels, compared to expectations for a withdrawal of 625,000 barrels.
The data softened oil prices, though arguably dovish language from the Fed bolstered the commodity.
The Fed earlier said it was leaving interest rates unchanged and reduced the amount of bonds it buys each month to $55 billion from $65 billion, both moves in line with expectations.
However, the Fed omitted previous language calling for rate hike considerations if the unemployment rate approaches a 6.5% threshold, a policy tool known as forward guidance.
Even though the economy is improving, a highly accommodative monetary policy stance remains appropriate, the U.S. central bank said, which boosted oil on sentiments that the U.S. will demand more fuel and energy while interest rates remain low and make commodities more attractive in dollar-denominated exchanges.
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