London - Oil prices diverged Wednesday as dealers awaited key US data, including the latest stockpiles report, for clues about demand in the world's top crude consumer, analysts said.
Investors are also keenly awaiting US economic growth data for the April-June quarter, as well as the latest policy decision from the US Federal Reserve, to measure the health of the world's top oil-consuming economy.
Brent North Sea crude for delivery in September fell 32 cents to stand at $107.40 per barrel just after midday in London.
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for September rose 18c to $101.15 a barrel.
"Oil prices are quiet at the moment with investors focusing on the US stockpiles data out later in the day," David Lennox, resource analyst at Fat Prophets in Sydney, told AFP.
Reserves are expected to have fallen by 1.8 million barrels on average in the week to July 25, according to analysts polled by The Wall Street Journal.
Gasoline stockpiles are expected to have risen 800 000 barrels, while stocks of distillates, which include heating oil and diesel, are also expected to have increased by one million barrels.
Refinery use is expected to fall by 0.2 percentage points to 93.6% of capacity.
Market watchers believe refineries will soon scale back output ahead of the end of the summer driving season in early September, reducing demand for crude oil.
Lennox said oil prices were also pressured following easing concerns that fresh European Union sanctions on Russia, including on the state-controlled oil company Rosneft, would immediately impact Moscow's energy exports.
"The sanctions aren't likely to have any kind of immediate or short-term impact on global oil supply," Lennox said.
Markets are also on tenterhooks before the US central bank's latest policy statement.
While Federal Reserve policymakers are expected to keep interest rates at record lows and further cut their stimulus programme, investors are hoping for an indication that monetary policy could be tightened soon.