NEW YORK (
TheStreet) -- With market observers continuing to look ahead to a highly anticipated statement
The September delivery contract on the Nymex was slumping $1.73 to trade at $79.75 a barrel.
Most morning news accounts were attributing the steep pullback in oil to the downbeat economic data out of China. Imports slowed in July, according to China's customs bureau, suggesting abating economic activity for one of the world's largest consumers of energy.
The Federal Reserve's policy-making group will issue a statement in this afternoon as part of a regularly scheduled one-day meeting. Market observers are curious to know if the Fed will telegraph a willingness to take further quantitative easing steps in order to help stimulate the economy.Late Tuesday, the industry's own American Petroleum Institute is scheduled to release a crude oil inventory assessment, followed by the Energy Information Administration's own take due out Wednesday morning. According to a survey of analysts conducted by Platts, crude oil stockpiles are expected to fall by 2.4 million barrels for the week ending August 6. The