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Brent falls below $111 as US Fed flags concern

crudeqLONDON: Oil fell below $111 a barrel on Friday after US Federal Reserve officials indicated they may at least slow a stimulus programme this year, threatening the economic recovery in the world's biggest fuel consumer.

 

Signs of hesitation within the Fed about more increases to the central bank's $2.9 trillion balance sheet boosted the dollar and weighed down the price of oil.

 

Brent crude was trading down $1.43 to $110.71 by 1129 GMT, up from a session low of $110.38. US crude was down $1.12 at $91.80.

 

"A much firmer US dollar and speculation about an earlier end to Fed bond purchasing are putting oil prices under pressure," said a Commerzbank research note.

 

While the Fed said it would keep buying bonds to boost the economy over the coming months, minutes of a December meeting showed some officials are growing concerned about the programme's potential risk to financial markets.

 

Several thought it would be appropriate to slow or stop asset purchases well before the end of 2013.

 

Center>Copyright Reuters, 2013