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Crude oil lower in pre-Christmas trade as U.S. budget talks stall

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Investing.com - Investing.com - Crude oil futures were lower in holiday-thinned trade during U.S. morning hours on Monday, as investors became less confident a deal to avert the looming fiscal cliff in the U.S. will be reached before the year-end deadline.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light sweet crude futures for delivery in February traded at USD88.50 a barrel during U.S. morning trade, down 0.2% on the day.

New York-traded oil prices were stuck in a tight trading range between USD88.21 a barrel, the daily low and a session high of USD88.83 a barrel.

Trading on the NYMEX will close at 13:30EST (18:30GMT) ahead of the Christmas holiday on Tuesday.

Market players remained focused on developments surrounding the fiscal cliff in the U.S., approximately USD600 billion in automatic tax hikes and spending cuts due to come into effect on January 1.

Doubts over whether a deal will be reached ahead of the year-end intensified last week after Republican House Speaker John Boehner failed to get his caucus' support for his so-called "Plan B" fiscal cliff option, which called for tax increases only on Americans earning USD1 million or more per year.

The U.S. House has adjourned for the Christmas holiday, fueling speculation that policymakers will not be able to avert the fiscal cliff.

Without a deal, the U.S. could fall back into recession and drag much of the world down with it.

The U.S. is the world's biggest oil-consuming country, responsible for almost 22% of global oil demand.

Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange, Brent oil futures for February delivery shed 0.55% to trade at a one-week low of USD108.39 a barrel, with the spread between the Brent and crude contracts standing at USD19.89 a barrel.

Trading was expected to remain subdued, with year-end positioning driving flows and as holidays in many countries limit activity.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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