Oil fell below $111 a barrel on Friday after US Federal Reserve policy makers indicated they may slow the quantitative easing stimulus programme or stop asset buys altogether later this year.
Further talks in Washington next month to tackle the debt ceiling, and signs of hesitation within the Fed about more increases to the central bank's $2.9 trillion balance sheet, weighed on prices. Brent crude for February delivery tumbled $1.20 to $110.94 by 0951 GMT. US crude was down $1.04 at $91.88.
"Most people do not want to take further risks in equities and commodities if the QE (quantitative easing) programme is not going to continue beyond 2013," Upstream Newspapers quoted a commodities fund manager at Astmax Investments in Tokyo, Tetsu Emori to have said.
Thursday's data from the American Petroleum Institute showed a steeper-than-expected drop of 12 million barrels in crude inventories in the week to 28 December. Analysts were expecting a 900,000 barrel draw.