Oil prices up as cliff talks loom


Bangkok - The price of crude rose Friday, following stock markets in Asia higher hours ahead of a last-ditch effort in Washington for political leaders to strike a budget deal before the year-end deadline.

Benchmark crude for February delivery rose 13 cents at late afternoon Bangkok time to $91 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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The contract fell Thursday following a reported drop in U.S. consumer confidence and growing pessimism that President Barack Obama and Republican lawmakers will reach a compromise on ways to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff - hundreds of billions of dollars in government spending cuts and tax increases that take effect automatically in 2013 unless lawmakers act.

Hopes that a compromise might be reached were raised after Obama, who cut his Hawaii vacation short, invited congressional leaders to the White House for talks Friday.

In other energy futures trading:

- Wholesale gasoline fell 0.5 cents to $2.8166 a gallon.

- Brent crude, used to price various kinds of foreign oil, fell 12 cents to $110.68 per barrel in London.

- Heating oil fell 0.7 cent to $3.0417 a gallon.

- Natural gas lost 3.6 cents to $3.376 per 1,000 cubic feet.


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