Crude oil futures declined on Wednesday, heading back towards $30 a barrel as profit-taking wiped out a chunk of the gains notched up in the previous session on hopes for output cuts.
Brent crude had declined 40 cents to $31.42 a barrel early on Wednesday, after hitting a session low of $31.05 a barrel. U.S. crude fell 80 cents to $30.65 a barrel, recovering slightly from a session low of $30.30 a barrel.
The Federal Reserve concludes its latest Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting with a statement release due at 2 p.m. ET.
The central bank is not expected to raise interest rates at the meeting, but markets are hoping for a dovish message.
The Fed and the markets have been at odds over the central bank's interest rate forecasts. When it raised rates for the first time in nine years in December, the forecasts of Fed officials pointed to four additional hikes for this year. As of now, the market is pricing in one and each piece of disappointing economic news has reinforced that view.
"At a minimum, the reinsertion of language used by the FOMC in September – that recent global economic and financial developments may restrain economic activity somewhat and is likely to put further downward pressures on inflation in the near term – would seem required to demonstrate that they are alive to the increased downside risks from recent events," said economist at Daiwa Capital Markets, Emily Nicol.
Ahead of the Fed announcement, new home sales figures for December are due at 10.00 a.m. ET.
Earnings will also be in focus on Wednesday, with dozens of reports due including Biogen, Boeing, Fiat Chrysler, United Tech, Anthem, General Dynamics, Norfolk Southern, St. Jude Medical and State Street all due before market open.