U.S. budget impasse sends crude oil prices down

Dec. 24, 2012 at 5:36 PM

NEW YORK, Dec. 24 (UPI) -- Crude oil prices held steady in New York Monday, holding at less than $89 per barrel before the Christmas holiday break.

Traders are focused on the budget impasse in Washington, but no news on the issue on Christmas Eve turned out to be good news -- or good enough -- and prices held steady.

Lawmakers have until the end of the year to reach a budget compromise to avoid the combination of tax hikes and spending cuts that many fear would send the U.S. economy back into a recession.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude oil for February delivery added 8 cents to $88.74 per barrel. Home heating oil for February gave up 0.07 cents to $3.0095 a gallon. Reformulated blendstock gasoline was up 0.67 cents to $2.7225 a gallon.

Natural gas prices fell 0.84 cents to $3.367 per million British thermal units.

At the pump, AAA reported a national average price for regular unleaded gasoline hit $3.247 per gallon, up from Sunday's $3.246.

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