Oil prices fall on questions about global economy

Associated Press Modified: September 12, 2012 at 3:30 pm •  Published: September 12, 2012

The price of oil was in a holding pattern Wednesday as traders questioned the potential benefit of efforts to promote economic growth in the U.S. and Europe.

Benchmark oil fell 16 cents Wednesday to end at $97.01 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, which is used to price international varieties of oil, gained 56 cents to $115.33 per barrel in London.

A German court cleared a path for Europe to create a fund to help financially troubled countries. It is just one of several strategies being pursued to resolve Europe's debt crisis.

Oil prices briefly topped $98 per barrel after the ruling was announced. Those gains were erased after the U.S. government said crude inventories increased last week.

Now, traders are looking ahead to Thursday when the Federal Reserve wraps up a two-day policy meeting. There is broad speculation that Chairman Ben Bernanke will unveil a bond-buying program or other steps designed to boost the U.S. economy.

Since hitting a low of $77.69 per barrel in late June, oil has risen about $20 per barrel on expectations that the U.S., Europe and China will do more to help their economies.

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