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Oil prices jump ahead of renewed ‘fiscal cliff’ talks

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Oil prices jumped Wednesday as President Barack Obama headed back to Washington for a last-ditch attempt to secure a “fiscal cliff” deal with Republicans ahead of a year-end deadline.

New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for February delivery, gained $2.37 to settle at $90.98 a barrel, its highest level in almost ten weeks.

Brent North Sea crude for February delivery climbed $2.27 to $111.07 a barrel in London trade.

With the clock ticking, Obama and Congress are under increasing pressure to hammer out a compromise to avoid looming tax hikes and deep, mandated spending cuts that are slated to take effect next month.

Experts warn that going over the so-called fiscal cliff could plunge the United States economy back into recession. And that could hurt oil demand in the world’s biggest consumer of crude.

“Hopes for progress have been fueled by President Obama’s early return from his family vacation in Hawaii,” said Lisa Finstrom of Citi Futures and OTC Clearing.

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