Oil rises on new hope U.S. politicians can resolve `fiscal cliff' impasse

NEW YORK, N.Y. – The price of oil finished higher Monday as political leaders in Washington appear closer to a resolution in critical budget negotiations.

President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner met at the White House on Monday in hopes of making more progress toward avoiding the “fiscal cliff,” a combination of spending cuts and tax increases that go into effect on Jan. 1.

The meeting came after Boehner on Friday offered to raise taxes on some wealthy earners — but only if Obama agrees to cuts in benefit programs.

Benchmark West Texas intermediate crude rose 47 cents to close at US$87.20 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Brent crude, which is used to price international varieties of oil, fell 54 cents to US$107.64 on the ICE Futures Exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on the Nymex, heating oil fell two cents to US$2.96 a U.S. gallon (3.79 litres), wholesale gasoline fell less than a penny to close at US$2.65 a gallon and natural gas rose four cents to US$3.36 per 1,000 cubic feet, its first gain in eight trading sessions.