Oil inches up as 'cliff' deadline approaches

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — Oil prices are up slightly Monday after U.S. political leaders indicated they are closer to a compromise, just hours ahead of the "fiscal cliff" deadline.

Benchmark oil for February is up 49 cents to $91.29 per barrel in New York. The contract fell 7 cents to finish at $90.80 per barrel on Friday.

Negotiators for the White House and congressional Republicans in Congress, working against a midnight deadline, narrowed their differences Monday on legislation to avert across-the-board tax increases and spending cuts set to trigger on Jan. 1.

But Republicans and Democrats remain divided over how to avert the so-called "fiscal cliff," and it appears likely that financial markets will start 2013 without a clear picture of the budget policy of the U.S. economy.

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