(Corrects from FOMC meeting to FOMC minutes in first paragraph
and bullet points)
* U.S. crude inventories seen higher -
* Israeli airstrike highlights geopolitical risks
* US retail sales slip
* Coming Up: FOMC minutes
By Simon Falush
LONDON, Nov 14 Brent oil gained on Wednesday
after two days in retreat, supported by a retreat in the dollar
against the euro ahead of a re lease of minutes by th e U.S.
Federal Open Market Committee.
The greenback was pressured on growing signs that the
Federal Reserve was likely to adopt an ultra-loose monetary
stance in coming months.
Influential Fed Vice Chair Janet Yellen said on Tuesday that
U.S. interest rates may need to stay near zero until early 2016
to forcefully lift employment.
Brent crude gained 56 cents to $108.82 a barrel by
1433 GMT, after ending 81 cents lower on Tuesday. U.S. oil
gained 21 cents to $85.59.
"It's mostly the dollar's weakness, and people are squaring
positions ahead of the FOMC ...," said Michael Hewson, analyst
at CMC markets.
The dollar fell against the euro, making oil, priced in the
U.S. currency, more affordable to holders of the single
The euro was supported on signs Greece would secure funding
from international lenders for the rest of 2012, while Italy's
borrowing costs fell to a two year low.
Geopolitical tensions also supported prices. Hamas's
military chief was killed when his car was hit by an Israeli
airstrike on Wednesday, the Palestinian Islamist group said,
with multiple Israeli attacks rocking the Gaza Strip.
However economic worries prevented more strength.
A wave of strikes across Europe to protest against spending
cuts and tax hikes kept the focus on the region's debt
And U.S. retail sales fell in October for the first time in
three months as superstorm Sandy slammed the brakes on
automobile purchases, suggesting a loss of momentum in spending
early in the fourth quarter.
Oil fell on Tuesday after the International Energy Agency
cut estimates for global oil demand for the fourth quarter by
around 300,000 bpd from last month's report in the wake of
Hurricane Sandy and as Iran's production increased.
Oil and broader financial markets have remained under
pressure due to a U.S. fiscal policy standoff and uncertainty
over the euro zone's debt problems.
U.S. lawmakers gathered in Washington on Tuesday to start
talks on a deal to tackle the country's finances while Greece's
international lenders gave the country more time to fix its
budget, though they did not disburse the aid it had hoped to
refinance its debt.
Investors were awaiting inventory data to give further
insight on the demand/supply balance.
Crude oil inventories rose last week as big East Coast
refineries were yet to resume normal operations after
disruptions caused by Hurricane Sandy, a Reuters poll of
Crude inventories were seen up 1.9 million barrels in the
weekly data from the federal Energy Information Administration,
delayed by a day due to the Veterans Day holiday.
(Additional reporting by Manash Goswami in Singapore; Editing
by William Hardy and Anthony Barker)