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Oil Eases off Highs Awaiting Fed Decision

Petroleum prices edged lower on Wednesday after hitting multi-month highs in the previous session, as investors braced for the U.S. Federal Reserve’s interest rate policy announcement later in the day.

Brent crude futures for May fell 62 cents, or 0.71%, to $86.76 U.S. a barrel early in the day. U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures for April delivery, which expire on Wednesday’s settlement, fell 71 cents, or 0.85%, to $82.76 a barrel. The more active May WTI contract was at $82.11 U.S. a barrel, down 62 cents, or 0.75%.

Investors are looking ahead to the Federal Reserve’s announcement later on Wednesday for signs of its interest rate path for the rest of the year.

The Fed is not predicted to cut borrowing costs, but fresh economic projections could signal fewer interest rate cuts and a later start to the policy easing than previously expected.

The U.S. dollar index edged higher ahead of the Fed decision, which can also dent oil demand for buyers in countries using other currencies.

Brent had settled at its highest since Oct. 31 in the previous session, at $87.38 a barrel, while WTI hit its highest since Oct. 27 at $83.47.