U.S. oil price dropped slightly on Tuesday as Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said the U.S. economy will expand at a moderate pace this year.
"The pickup in economic activity has fueled further progress in the labor market," Yellen said Tuesday when reporting economic situation and monetary policy before the House Financial Services Committee, which is her first testimony and public remarks since she took the position on Feb. 3.
However, Yellen said "the recovery in the labor market is far from complete" and the central bank would maintain the track of scaling back from monetary stimulus.
The U.S. Labor Department said on Feb. 7 that total non-farm payroll employment increased by 113,000 in January, falling short of market expectation, while the unemployment rate in January dropped to 6.6 percent, the lowest level since October 2008.
The oil prices paused on Tuesday as traders are digesting Yellen's comments. The U.S. economy growth rate is one of the key influences on oil prices.
U.S. crude price was supported by the cold weather in the U.S., as the consumption of heating oil is surging. The fuel inventories of the United States, which includes heating oil and diesel fell in recent weeks.
Energy Information Administration is scheduled to release the report Wednesday covering U.S. crude and fuel supplies of last week.
Light, sweet crude for March delivery moved down 12 cents to settle at 99.94 U.S. dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for March delivery gained 5 cents to close at 108.68 dollars a barrel