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Oil prices edge higher as US debt deadline looms

 

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October 16th, 2013 (AFP) – World oil prices rose slightly on Wednesday in nervous trading as the United States moves closer to defaulting on its debt.

New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in November, climbed 16 cents to $101.37 a barrel.

The price of Brent North Sea crude for November advanced five cents to stand at $110.01 a barrel in London trading.

The “market is showing increasing signs of unease amid another day of stalled progress on debt ceiling talks”, French bank Credit Agricole said in a client note.

“Although 17th October is not necessarily the date that the US defaults on its debt, it nevertheless will be the crucial date that investors have in mind.”

It added: “Tension is building up as we approach this deadline, and talks of hope and progress, rather than concrete deals, might not be enough to keep sentiment from deteriorating.”

With just over a day before the US government begins to run short of money to pay its bills, there was no clear sign of a deal in Washington to reopen the federal government and raise the country’s borrowing limit.

If Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling before midnight on Wednesday (0400 GMT Thursday) the US Treasury would begin to run out of money to meet its obligations and slip towards a historic debt default that analysts fear will cause deep damage to the global economy.

Amid the stalled talks in Congress, Fitch on Tuesday placed on watch its top AAA credit rating for the US and warned of a possible downgrade.

Editor’s Note: Local fuel prices in Costa Rica generally trail world oil price increases or decreases by about 60 days.

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