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Brent value gained slightly today as investors await the first congressional testimony of new Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen, after a weak labour market report for January left investors skittish.

According to Reuters, Brent crude gained by $0.01 to $108.64 a barrel, while US oil was down by $0.08 to $99.98.

Currently the oil market focus is on Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen, who will deliver the central bank’s twice-annual report to Congress, on Tuesday before the House Financial Services Committee and then Thursday before the Senate Banking Committee.

Crude prices are expected to drop in the near future due to sinking heating oil prices as the market looks towards the end of the US’ long and frigid winter, and as supplies increase from Libya and the North Sea.

"Crude gains were also capped due to expectations of an increase in Libyan crude supplies."

The temperature in the world’s top oil consumer is expected to be moderate next week, curbing demand for heating fuels, which propped up oil prices as demand for heating fuels skyrocketed and refiners pumped out distillates.

Crude gains were also capped due to expectations of an increase in Libyan crude supplies.

A spokesman from Libya’s National Oil Corporation said that the North African nation’s current oil production is around 600,000bpd, with the El Sharara oilfield producing 327,000bpd, while national exports now stand at 450,000bpd.

A preliminary poll of analysts revealed that the US crude oil inventories would increase by three million barrels last week to more than 361 million barrels.

Investors are waiting for the API and Energy Information Administration (EIA) data, due for release later today and Wednesday, respectively.


Image: On 3 February Janet Yellen took office as chief of The Federal Reserve System. Photo: courtesy of Wikipedia.

Energy