Meanwhile, the U.S. still appears headed for the so-called fiscal cliff — a combination of tax hikes and government spending cuts that will take effect Jan. 1 unless President Barack Obama and Congress can reach a compromise to avert it. Economists believe that would hurt growth in the world's largest economy and possibly risk a recession.
In London, Brent crude, used to price international varieties of oil, was down 85 cents to $108.23 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.
Among other energy futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange:
— Heating oil was down 1.52 cents to $2.984 per gallon.
— Gasoline futures dropped 1.38 cents to $2.625 per gallon.
— Natural gas was up 2.9 cents to $3.599 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Pamela Sampson in Bangkok contributed to this report.
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