1. Crude oil prices rise on consumer demand, inventory declines
MOSCOW (MRC) -- :Oil prices edged higher on Wednesday, rebounding from early losses after US inventory data showed strong consumer demand and as the Federal Reserve said it would end its pandemic-era bond purchases in March to slow rising inflation, reported Reuters. Prices had been pressured most of the day due to ongoing concerns that supply growth will outpace demand next year and worries that COVID-19 vaccines may be less effective against the spreading Omicron variant. Brent crude futures settled up 18 cents, or 0.2%, to USD73.88 a barrel. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude ended up 14 cents to USD70.87 a barrel. The Federal Reserve said it would end its pandemic-era bond purchases in March and begin raising interest rates as unemployment remains low and inflation has risen.