Crude Ticks Higher on Increased Demand, Fiscal Cliff Expectations (USO) (OIL)

December 26, 2012 3:06 PM EST
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Crude futures are ticking higher Wednesday on overall market sentiment as well as some new data out of MasterCard (NYSE: MA).

According to the financial institution, demand for oil in the U.S. last week was 8.95 million barrels per day, up 4.5 percent over the prior week.

Despite the increased demand, the average price at the pump slipped 8 cents to $3.23 per gallon.

Traders are playing a positive outcome in the fiscal cliff negotiations, which will continue tomorrow when President Obama arrives back from his vacation and Congress reconvenes Averting the $600 billion in tax hikes and spending cuts would boost the amount of money in consumers hands and also keep the employment train chugging along as businesses wouldn't have to shell out more for each worker, spending it instead on expansion.

February contracts are up $2.36 to $90.97 per barrel on the Comex. Prices slipped to 10-week lows last week as imports into the U.S. decreased, Bloomberg noted this afternoon.

Crude inventories will be reported this Friday following the holiday earlier in the week. Last week, stockpiles fell about 964,000 barrels.

United States Oil (NYSE: USO) and iPath S&P GSCI Crude Oil TR Index ETN (NYSE: OIL) ETFs are comfortably higher on the session.

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