Oil prices were steady today as the US Federal Reserve is expected to meet to discuss its strategy on the monetary stimulus programme.

Brent crude was steady at $107.34 a barrel, after slipping by 11 cents, while US oil fell by 25 cents at $104.30 a barrel, reported Reuters.

The US central bank is likely to issue a statement on 31 July, which will be analysed for indications about reducing its bond-buying to stimulate the economy.

Inventory data is also expected to provide some clue on oil demands in the US.

According to a Reuters poll, US commercial crude oil stockpiles dropped to a five-week low last week.

Traders are now awaiting release of key economic data, including US employment numbers and Chinese manufacturing data.

"Inventory data is also expected to provide some clue on oil demands in the US."

The North Sea’s Forties pipeline reduced pumping rates by about 40,000 bpd due to maintenance, adding to the tightened supply of crude that underpins the Brent benchmark.

Explosions in Libya’s Benghazi city have prompted US-based Marathon Oil to review its stake in the Waha oil consortium.

Libya is exporting oil from its Es Sider and Ras Lanuf terminals normally, despite protests and strikes.

Oil prices were also supported by expectations that Iraq’s oil output will decline for 2013, the country’s first decline after two years of gains.

Image: Prices remained steady on the US’s stimulus outlook. Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.