Brent crude futures were barely changed around USD 105, holding not far off their strongest level in 10 weeks, as investors remained cautious ahead of a US Federal Reserve meeting.

The Fed, whose two-day policy meeting starts on Tuesday, is under pressure to roll back some of the USD 85 billion in monthly bond purchases after advances in the US economy. Its three quantitative-easing schemes have buoyed prices of commodities.

At 0446 GMT, Brent was up 5 cents at USD 105.52 a barrel. It rose to 106.67 on Monday, the highest since April 4, on mounting tensions in the Middle East. US oil added 5 cents to USD 97.82 after hitting a nine-month high near USD 99 a barrel in the previous session.

"What I'm expecting is some indication of a slow, measured tapering of the bond-purchase programme by the Fed. It will cause some impact to markets at the start but I'm looking for minimal slippage at least for oil prices," said Carl Larry, president of Houston-based Oil Outlooks and Opinions.

"In general any decision to taper would signal confidence in the ongoing recovery of the US economy, that is potentially an upside for markets depending on how investors take it."

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