Oil up in Asia ahead of Fed meeting

Singapore, Jan 24 (AFP) Oil prices were up in Asiantrade Monday as investors awaited the outcome of a FederalReserve meeting this week, analysts said.

New York''s main contract, light sweet crude for Marchdelivery, rose 24 cents to USD 89.35 per barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for delivery in March was up 15cents to USD 97.75.

"The Federal Reserve is expected to continue its bondpurchases as the economy is likely to show modest improvement,hence the markets will react positively to it," said Ong YiLing, investment analyst for Phillip Futures in Singapore.

A revamped Federal Open Market Committee -- the Fed''sinterest rate setting panel -- will gather Tuesday andWednesday, when members are expected to continue to unfurl aUSD 600 billion stimulus designed to jolt the US economy outof its inertia.

Despite signs that the recovery is picking up, the Fedis expected to keep its foot on the accelerator, continuingemergency bonds purchases that prime the economy and keepinginterest rates at ultra-low levels.

"It is still far too soon to go back to thinking aboutan exit strategy," said Peter Ireland, a Boston Collegeeconomist and former Federal Reserve adviser.

Crude prices fell for the fourth straight sessionFriday as sentiment took a hit from a larger-than-expectedrise in US stockpiles.

US crude oil stockpiles climbed 2.6 million barrels to335.7 million barrels in the week to January 14, according todata released last Thursday.

Analysts had initially forecast a drop of 900,000barrels for the world''s biggest oil consumer. (AFP)

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