Crude oil prices were down to begin Thursday as the U.S. dollar gained after the U.S. Federal Reserve's minutes hinted that the central bank may not continue rate cuts for the remainder of the year.
International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $60.20 per barrel at 0653 GMT for a 0.31% decline after closing Wednesday at $60.39 a barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate was at $55.63 a barrel at the same time for a 0.62% loss after ending the previous session at $55.98 per barrel.
The Fed minutes released Wednesday said the central bank's rate cut last month should not be viewed as a 'pre-set course' for more rate cuts later this year.
Since the markets were pricing in at least one or two more rate cuts for the remainder of 2019, investors were worried that the Fed would not continue, or even defer lowering interest rates, resulting in a higher U.S. dollar against other currencies.
The U.S. dollar index, which includes a basket of currencies like the euro, Japanese yen, British pound, Canadian dollar, Swedish krona and Swiss franc, closed Wednesday with a 0.11% gain.
As crude oil prices are indexed to the U.S. dollar, a rise in the value of the greenback lowers global oil demand and pushes oil prices down.
The Fed lowered its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points on July 31 -- its first rate cut in 11 years from December 2008 when the financial crisis was at its height.
The bank increased the rates nine times between December 2015 and December 2018 -- one each at the end of 2015 and 2016, three times during 2017 and four times in 2018.
By Ovunc Kutlu