Commodities: Crude falls in pre-holiday trading



LONDON (ShareCast) - Crude oil futures fell on Friday, in line with a broader equities sell-off, and as investors grow increasingly concerned about the White House's lack of progress at agreeing on how to avoid the US fiscal cliff.

Crude for February delivery lost $1.47 to settle at $88.66 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. However the week oil futures logged a 2% gain.

Oil prices on Friday came under pressure as political wrangling over the US budget continued.

House Speaker John Boehner said there was not enough Republican support for a plan to increase taxes on millionaires. If a deal isn't reached, $500bn in spending cuts and tax increases will come into force at the start of 2013. The so called fiscal cliff could, it is feared, tip the US economy into a recession.

Meanwhile in economic news the University of Michigan-Thomson Reuters consumer-sentiment index fell to 72.9 in December, weaker than expectations of 75.

Over on the ICE futures exchange, North Sea Brent for February fell $1.20 to $109.00 a barrel.

Among precious metals gold was boosted 0.9% by some safe haven flows on Friday as focus turned to the fiscal cliff.

Gold (Other OTC: GDCWF - news) for February delivery rose $14.20 to settle at $1,660.10 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.