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Oil Prices Tick Up Ahead of U.S. Fed, OPEC Decisions

Oil prices ticked up as the market is looking towards a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies (OPEC+) as well as a Federal Reserve rate decision and U.S. government data on crude and fuel stockpiles on Wednesday.

Brent crude futures rose 45 cents, or 0.5%, to $85.91 a barrel. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) U.S. crude futures rose 62 cents, or 0.8%, to $79.49 a barrel.

Tamer U.S. rate hike expectations helped lower the dollar index index , which supported oil prices as a weaker greenback makes the commodity cheaper for buyers holding other currencies, according to Stephen Brennock, analyst at PVM.

The Federal Reserve is expected to deliver its decision at 2 p.m. ET.

Meanwhile, OPEC+ ministers including Russia are expected to stick with existing output targets at a virtual meeting scheduled for Wednesday.

OPEC’s oil output fell in January, as Iraqi exports dropped and Nigeria’s output did not recover, with the 10 OPEC members pumping 920,000 barrels per day (bpd) below their targeted volumes under the OPEC+ agreement.

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

Capping gains, data from the American Petroleum Institute industry group showed U.S. crude stocks rose about 6.3 million barrels, more than expected, in the week ended Jan. 27, according to market sources. Government stockpile data is due Wednesday.