Brent slips as fiscal cliff fears offset Middle East tension

November 13, 2012 - 7:03:14 am

NEW YORK: Brent crude prices slipped yesterday in choppy trading, as concerns about US fiscal problems offset tensions in the Middle East and signs of strong oil demand growth in China.

US crude futures seesawed, receiving support from a stronger opening on Wall Street before equities pulled back as worries about looming automatic tax increases and spending cuts in the United States, the so-called fiscal cliff, continued to sow caution among investors. 

“The battle continues between the negativity from the slowing of the global economy compared to what global stimulus programs might do to the economy going forward, while geopolitics have continued to remain an issue for market participants,” said Dominick Chirichella of New York’s Energy Management Institute.

Brent December crude fell 47 cents to $108.93 a barrel by 12.18pm EST (1718 GMT), below the 100-day moving average at $109.19 and having traded from $108.56 to $110.39. US December crude slipped 63 cents to $85.44 a barrel, after reaching $86.54.    

Crude futures received support from data suggesting that implied oil demand in China.