Crude oil prices were up at the start of Friday's trading as investors and markets await the U.S. Federal Reserve's much-anticipated annual Jackson Hole symposium in which hints from the central bank's chairman are anticipated over interest rate moves for the remainder of the year.
International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $60.21 per barrel at 0630 GMT for a 0.25% gain after it closed Thursday at $60.06 a barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate was at $55.56 a barrel at the same time with little change after it ended the previous session at $55.52 per barrel.
Hosted by Kansas City Fed, more than 100 attendees gather each year in Jackson Hole, Wyoming where the Fed officials, economists, academics, U.S. government representatives and organizations discuss key aspects of the American economy.
This weekend, all focus will be on the speeches of Fed Chairman Jerome Powell starting Friday over the central bank's monetary policy and potential recession risks in the U.S. economy.
When the Fed lowered its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points on July 31 -- its first since 2008 -- Powell described the move as a 'mid-cut adjustment.'
The central bank's minutes from the July 31 meeting released Wednesday noted that the rate cut should not be viewed as a 'pre-set course,' which suggested that the 25 basis points cut could be the only single one this year.
Since markets were anticipating and pricing in more rate cuts from the Fed this year, the release of the minutes pushed the U.S. dollar higher on Thursday and created a downward pressure on oil prices, which are indexed to the greenback.
Most analysts expect that Powell will take a soft tone during the Jackson Hole meeting so as not to rattle the markets and invite heat from U.S. President Donald Trump who strongly insists the Fed should lower rates rapidly.
Powell will also try to find a balance among the Federal Open Market Committee as its voting members are divided between holding interest rates steady and lowering them more.
By Ovunc Kutlu