11/20/2013 03:51 EST | Updated 01/25/2014 04:01 EST

Oil little changed after Fed minutes indicate central bank intends to soon wind down stimulus

NEW YORK, N.Y. - The price of oil showed little change Wednesday after the minutes of the last Federal Reserve meeting indicated that policy-makers intended to soon begin winding down the U.S. central banks' economic stimulus.

Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for December delivery fell one cent to close at US$93.31 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The more heavily traded January Nymex contract slipped four cents to US$93.85.

Members of the Federal Reserve agreed last month that they would likely start reducing their bond purchases in coming months if the job market improved further. They also weighed the possibility of slowing the purchases even without clear evidence of a strengthening job market.

The Fed's bond purchases have been intended to keep long-term borrowing rates low to spur spending and growth.

Meanwhile, the Energy Department said crude oil supplies rose by 400,000 barrels for the week ended Nov. 15, the ninth straight weekly increase. But gasoline supplies fell by 300,000 barrels, and the agency said the average demand for gasoline over the past four weeks was about four per cent higher than for the same period last year.

Oil has traded between US$93 and US$96 a barrel this month and is down from nearly US$110 a barrel in early October due to ample supplies and tepid demand.

Brent crude for January delivery, the benchmark for an international variety of crude, gained $1.14 to US$108.06 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex, wholesale gasoline gained two cents to US$2.66 a U.S. gallon (3.79 litres), heating oil added five cents to US$2.95 a gallon and natural gas gained 12 cents to US$3.67 per 1,000 cubic feet.