Crude oil prices stepped lower on Friday as market players waited for Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen’s speech later Friday for hints on U.S. monetary policy.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude futures for delivery in OctoberCLV6, -0.44% traded at $47.24 a barrel, down 9 cents, or 0.2%. October Brent crude on London’s ICE Futures exchange LCOV6, -0.93% fell 20 cents, or 0.4%, to $49.47 a barrel.
Yellen is due to deliver a speech at 10 a.m. Eastern Time at the annual central bankers’ summit at Jackson Hole, Wyo. Analysts and economists will scrutinise her remarks for clues about rate increases in the coming months and the Fed’s preparations to tackle the next economic downturn.
An increase in U.S. interest rates would lift the dollar, which would make oil more expensive for traders who conduct business in other currencies.
“Traders are sceptical that Yellen will deliver an upbeat assessment of the U.S. economy, one strong enough to prompt interest rate hikes,” said Stuart Ive, a client manager at OM Financial.