Oil prices recover on growth data

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New York - Oil prices rebounded on Thursday as top officials huddled on Capitol Hill to carve out a deal to avoid the “fiscal cliff” tax rises and spending cuts that could tip the US economy into recession.

A strong upward revision of third-quarter US economic growth, to 2.7 percent from 2.0 percent, also helped sentiment though the details of the data hid some worrisome data on consumer spending.

New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in January, climbed $1.58 to $88.07 a barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for January advanced $1.25 to $110.76 a barrel in London trade.

Michael Hewson, senior analyst at CMC Markets trading group, said the better-than-expected US economic data helped send prices back towards their recent highs.

Even so, the price remained at the low side of its three-month range, weighed down by slower global growth.

Worries remained about the pace of talks to ward off the fiscal cliff and set a long-term budget-deficit reduction plan, with the Democrats and Republicans at odds over raising taxes or cutting spending.

US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner headed to the Capitol for talks with congressional leaders of the two parties, as markets were increasingly skittish over the lack of positive signs.

IG analyst Justin Harper said financial markets would remain volatile until the Republicans and Democrats came up with a deal before the January 1 cut-off date, when the harsh measures of the cliff would begin crunching the economy.

“Comments are likely to continue from US lawmakers, both optimistic and pessimistic, on progress. Each time sentiment is likely to turn sharply, leading to a volatile period for US equities, and possibly global markets, until politicians sign off on a new budget plan for 2013.” - Sapa-AFP

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