Trade in crude-oil futures was light in London on Tuesday morning, as investors stayed on the sidelines ahead of Wednesday's decision and subsequent press conference by the Federal Open Market Committee on whether, when and by how much it will reduce its stimulus of the U.S. economy.
Prices of the two main benchmark contracts were slightly lower but broadly underpinned by geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, particularly in Syria where there is no end in sight to the civil war, and in Turkey where escalating social tensions threaten to destabilize the government.
Brent stalled near 10-month highs on Monday having broken out of its recent range at the end of the previous week. An unplanned outage at the North Sea Oseberg field also provided some support.
WTI, meanwhile, is trading around nine-month highs.
At 1005 GMT, the front-month August Brent contract on London's ICE futures exchange was down 16 cents at $105.31 a barrel.
The front-month July light, sweet crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange was trading 15 cents lower at $97.62 a barrel.
The possibility that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will signal an end to the policy of quantitative easing has sent a shiver through many asset classes.
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