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Oil edges lower, US debt deal in focus

15 October 2013, 08:13AFP

Tokyo -Oil prices eased in Asia trade on Tuesday as dealers nervously wait for US lawmakers to agree a budget deal and raise the country's borrowing limit to avert a default.

New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in November, fell 14 cents to $102.27 a barrel, while Brent North Sea crude for November shed 10c to $110.94 a barrel.

Politicians on Capitol Hill say they are within striking distance of an agreement to reopen the US government, which was closed two weeks ago because of a budget impasse, and lift the debt ceiling.

Global markets have been on tenterhooks as Democrats and Republicans bicker over the budget with just days before the government runs out of cash on Thursday.

However, Ken Hasegawa, energy desk manager at Newedge Brokerage in Japan, said even if a deal is reached traders still had concerns about the US economy.

"With the negative and positive factors at balance, the market has focused on the US debt ceiling and government finance problems."

He added that the closure of some parts of the government meant important economic data, including on jobs, has not been collected, which made it "difficult to make bets either way".

"Many people believe the fiscal problem in the US will be resolved somehow. But the resolution may only be a temporary measure. So it should not significantly affect the fundamentals."


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