Oil prices steadied today, as investors kept a close watch on the European Central Bank (ECB) meetings and economic data, in order to get a better understanding of the oil demand outlook in the world’s top consumers.

Brent crude dropped by two cents at $111.04 per barrel, while US crude rose by five cents to $90.48 per barrel, marking a drop in the expected inventory numbers, reported Reuters.

The Energy Information Administration revealed in its weekly report that US crude increased by 3.83 million barrels, while analysts had predicted a 500,000 barrel build up.

European Central Bank (ECB) president, Mario Draghi, is expected to address the press today to shed light on the prospects of the economy after recent gloomy figures.

The bank is anticipated to hold its interest rates at a record low of 0.75% and keep its growth and inflation forecasts largely unaltered.

The Bank of Japan is likely to introduce new stimulus measures during its next meeting on 3-4 April, when new Asian Development Bank president Haruhiko Kuroda will take over as governor.

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By GlobalData

In the US, inventories increased as refinery use dropped during the plant maintenance season in winter and due to a fall in imports to the world’s biggest oil consumer.

China will release its trade data for February on Friday, where export and import growth are expected to be in double digits.

Image: ECB president Mario Draghi. Photo courtesy of World Economic Forum.