NEW YORK, Dec. 17 (Xinhua) -- Oil prices went down Tuesday on profit-taking as investors are awaiting the outcome of the U.S. Federal Reserve's two-day policy meeting due out Wednesday afternoon.
Crude prices climbed higher Monday on the tension in crude producer Libya.
There are growing expectations that the Fed could start cutting stimulus program at this meeting, as many economists believe a string of upbeat economic data and easing fiscal restraints could comfort top Fed officials to moderate the pace of asset purchases soon.
On the economic front, U.S. builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes improved four points to 58 in December, according to the National Association of Home Builders/ Wells Fargo Housing Market Index released Tuesday.
The so-called tapering of U.S. central bank would likely boost the greenback, making dollar-priced oil more expensive for countries using other currencies, dampening the demand for oil.
The Energy Information Administration (EIA), the U.S. Energy Department's statistical arm, will on Wednesday release its report about U.S. crude supplies of the week ending Dec. 13. Analysts expected that the government report may show a third weekly drop in U.S. inventories.
Light, sweet crude for January delivery lost 26 cents to settle at 97.22 U.S. dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for January delivery moved down 97 cents to close at 108.44 dollars a barrel.