Oil prices lower as dollar surges after Fed rate hike

Investing.com – Oil prices fell on Thursday, adding to the previous session’s losses on the back of a broadly stronger U.S. dollar after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the first time in a year.

U.S. crude was trading at $50.28 a barrel at 10:09 ET, down 0.76 cents or 1.41% from its last close.

Global benchmark Brent futures were at $53.38 a barrel, down 52 cents or 0.96%.

The dollar surged to 14-year highs, after the Fed hiked interest rates by 25 basis points on Wednesday.

The rate hike was largely priced in by markets, but the dollar strengthened after the U.S. central bank predicted it would raise interest rates three times in 2017, up from the two hikes predicted in September.

A stronger dollar is bearish for crude, which is priced in the U.S. currency and becomes more expensive for holders of other currencies.

Oil prices had risen earlier in the day amid hopes that the global market will rebalance in 2017 as a result of planned output cuts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC members.

Producers from outside OPEC agreed last week to cut output by 558,000 bpd from January 1, on top of a cut of 1.2 million bpd cut announced by OPEC on November 30.

The total reduction represents almost 2% of global oil output.

Prices had also received some support from a decline in U.S. crude stockpiles.

Crude oil inventories fell by 2.56 million barrels last week, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported Wednesday.

That was compared to forecasts for a drawdown of 1.58 million barrels.

Stockpiles of gasoline and distillates also surprised to the downside, with gasoline stockpiles increasing by just 0.49 million barrels and distillates falling by 0.76 million barrels.

Stockpiles at the Cushing, Oklahoma delivery hub for U.S. crude rose by 1.22 million.

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