Oil prices ease on caution over US debt ceiling talks

Tokyo, May 18 (BNA): Oil prices fell in early Asian trading today, Thursday, as traders cautiously awaited signs of progress in talks to raise the US debt ceiling, after rising about 3% in the previous session on optimism about US demand for fuel.

Brent crude futures fell 20 cents, 0.3%, to $76.76 a barrel. US West Texas Intermediate crude also fell 20 cents to $72.63 a barrel, Reuters reported.

A sharp drop in US gasoline stocks due to demand rising to its highest levels since 2021, and optimism surrounding negotiations over the US debt ceiling, helped the benchmark crude oil stabilize more than $2 on Wednesday.

Another factor affecting prices is the increasing possibility of a rate hike by the US Federal Reserve.

ANZ Reesearch said in a note on Thursday that the strength of April economic data in the US, combined with improved optimism about debt ceiling negotiations and the health of regional banking stocks overnight, bolstered market expectations for another increase.

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