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Oil prices end year with losses

January 01, 2013

LONDON, Dec 31: Crude oil prices fell on Monday as traders’ hopes of a last-minute compromise deal between the US politicians to avert the “fiscal cliff” faded, analysts said.

New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in February, shed 28 cent to $90.52 a barrel. Brent North Sea crude for Feb slipped 73 cents to $109.89 a barrel in London morning trade. Political deadlock preventing a bipartisan deal hours before the fiscal cliff of sharp tax hikes and spending cuts is due to kick in was depressing markets, said analyst Yang Weiming.

Looking ahead, an already predicted drop in oil demand growth next year risks weighing on high crude prices despite Middle East unrest.

Benchmark Brent crude oil futures have traded around $110 a barrel for the past two months, benefiting major crude producers like Saudi Arabia and Iran while putting a strain on main consumers the US and China.—AFP