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Markets

Crude prices mixed in Asia

SINGAPORE : Crude prices were mixed in Asian trade Thursday as dealers await the outcome of eurozone crisis talks aimed

oilSINGAPORE: Crude prices were mixed in Asian trade Thursday as dealers await the outcome of eurozone crisis talks aimed at preventing a Greek financial meltdown, analysts said.

New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) light, sweet crude for September delivery, rose three cents to $98.43 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for delivery in September was down 36 cents to $117.79.

Leaders of eurozone countries were preparing for an emergency summit Thursday to discuss ways to avert a default by debt-ridden Greece and prevent the crisis from spreading to Italy and Spain.

Sentiment has been lifted by news that Germany and France have agreed a "joint position" concerning a rescue package. Disagreement between the two would have made a bailout deal almost impossible.

Traders are also upbeat that the US is nearing a political resolution to slashing its budget deficit, said Sanjeev Gupta, who heads Ernst & Young's Asia-Pacific oil and gas practice in Singapore.

"The US benchmark, WTI, got some late-week support from emerging perceptions that a budget deal could be accomplished in time to stave off a debt crisis," he said.

US President Barack Obama has in recent days piled pressure on Democrats and Republicans to break a political impasse and strike a deal to rein in the nation's massive debt as an August 2 deadline loomed.

On Tuesday, he flagged a new plan by a bipartisan group of senators that aims to slash the swollen US budget deficit by $3.7 trillion over 10 years and boost revenues $1 trillion by closing tax loopholes and ending some tax breaks.

A day later, he said in an interview that "my expectation is that we're going to get it solved," adding that he saw hopeful signs of compromise and that "over the next couple of weeks, hopefully we'll put this behind us."

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2011