MTECHTIPS;-Crude oil pushes higher in thin trade with eyes on U.S. budget talks

Crude oil futures pushed higher in quiet post-holiday trade on Wednesday, as investors continued to monitor negotiations among U.S. lawmakers to avoid the looming “fiscal cliff” crisis.Trading was expected to remain subdued, with year-end positioning driving flows and as holidays in many countries limit activity.On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light sweet crude futures for delivery in February traded at USD89.13 a barrel during European morning trade, up 0.6% on the day.New York-traded oil prices were stuck in a tight trading range between USD88.67 a barrel, the daily low and a session high of USD89.18 a barrel. There was no floor or electronic trading on Tuesday because of the Christmas holiday. 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.President Barack Obama, currently vacationing in Hawaii, plans to return to Washington on Thursday in order to take part in talks to avert the crisis ahead of the year-end deadline, the White House said late Tuesday.Both chambers of Congress are also due to return to work on Thursday.
Without a deal, the U.S. could fall back into recession and drag much of the world down with it.








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