Oil prices fall to near US$92 as Japan’s yen since middle of 2010


BANGKOK–Oil prices fell Friday as euphoria faded over a budget deal reached earlier this week by U.S. lawmakers and traders focused on signs of lackluster demand.

Benchmark crude for February delivery fell 70 cents at late afternoon Bangkok time to US$92.22 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 20 cents to US$92.92 per barrel on the Nymex on Thursday.

Brent crude, used to price international varieties of oil, fell 66 cents to US$111.48 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange:

— Wholesale gasoline fell 2.2 cents to US$2.7761 a gallon.

— Natural gas rose 2.2 cents to US$3.22 per 1,000 cubic feet.

The deal reached Tuesday in Washington prevents the “fiscal cliff” crisis of steep, automatic tax and spending increases from hammering the U.S. economy. But it puts off for two months some hard decisions about spending cuts that are needed to get the country’s mammoth deficit under control.