Oil prices mixed in Asia ahead of Fed meeting

Oil prices were mixed in Asian trade on Tuesday ahead of a US monetary policy meeting as lingering fears over the strength of the American economy weighed on crude markets, analysts said.

New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in October, fell 44 cents to 74.42 dollars a barrel on its last trading day.

Brent North Sea crude for November delivery added five cents to 79.37 dollars.

Crude markets were awaiting the outcome of a Federal Reserve meeting Tuesday on monetary policy in the world’s largest economy, analysts said.

“We see prices edging down ahead of the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) meeting,” said Ong Yi Ling, an investment analyst for Phillip Capital in Singapore.

“We are still seeing lingering worries on the US economy,” Ong said as data released Monday failed to show an increase in US home builder confidence levels in September.

Data from the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo confidence index showed that the index stayed at 13, unchanged from August’s level and lower than analyst expectations of a one-point rise to 14, media reports said.

The level was the lowest since March 2009, reports added.