Oil prices edge up ahead of Fed meeting

Agence France Presse

Posted at Aug 09 2010 12:38 PM | Updated as of Aug 09 2010 08:39 PM

TOKYO - Oil prices edged up in Asian trade Monday following last week's dip, ahead of a widely anticipated Federal Reserve meeting.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in September, advanced 30 cents to $81.00 a barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for September rose 34 cents to $ 80.43  after falling for three straight days last week.

But sentiment turned positive as "prices were supported above 80 dollars," Mitsubishi Corporation Futures analyst Tomokazu Amano told Dow Jones Newswires.

Investors were looking ahead to Tuesday's Federal Open Market Committee meeting amid mounting speculation that Chairman Ben Bernanke may hint at fresh steps to boost the economy after last week's weak employment data.

"Investors expect there will be some indication of additional actions to prop up the US," he added, noting that foreign exchange and equity movements were likely to set the tone for crude oil.

US GDP growth fell back sharply to 2.4%  in the second quarter, the Commerce Department said last Friday, slamming the brakes on an already tepid rebound and painting a bleak picture of the road ahead.