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Oil prices fall on firmer U.S. dollar

February 22/ 07:30

Singapore. Oil prices fell on Thursday, pulled down as a firmer dollar outweighed a report of a decrease in U.S. crude inventories.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were at $61.12 a barrel at 01.02 GMT, down 56 cents, or 0.9 percent, from their last settlement.

Brent crude futures LCOc1 had dropped 50 cents, or 0.8 percent, from their last close to $64.92 per barrel.

The dollar rose to a more than one-week peak against a basket of other currencies .DXY late on Wednesday, extending its recovery from last week, as minutes of the Federal Reserve’s January meeting showed policymakers confident in the need to keep raising interest rates.

“The firming dollar continues to thwart investor sentiment despite the bullish inventory data,” said Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia-Pacific at futures brokerage OANDA.

Since oil trading is conducted in dollars, a rise in the greenback makes fuel imports for countries using other currencies domestically more expensive, potentially curbing demand.

The firm dollar outweighed a reported fall in U.S. crude inventories.

The American Ptroleum Institute on Wednesday reported an unexpected drop in U.S. crude oil inventories by 907,000 barrels to 420.3 million barrels for the week to Feb. 16.

“Improved pipeline infrastructure to the Gulf coast and the decreased supply via TransCanada’s Keystone pipeline, sent ... inventories tumbling,” Innes said.

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