SINGAPORE - Oil prices eased in Asian trade Friday as investors took profit from a rise in New York, while markets remain volatile as US lawmakers hold talks on averting the fiscal cliff.
Democrat and Republican lawmakers must reach a deal to cut the country's deficit by the end of the year, when tax rises and spending cuts come into effect and which will likely tip the world's top economy back into recession.
But they made little progress on a compromise after Republicans on Thursday rejected as "ridiculous" and "unreasonable" a proposal by President Barack Obama to raise $1.6 trillion in new taxes.
New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for January delivery, was down 36 cents at $87.71 a barrel in the afternoon, and Brent North Sea crude for January dropped 29 cents to $110.47.
WTI had climbed $1.58 and Brent advanced $1.25 in closing deals Thursday.
"Global markets look set to be entering a period of volatility as traders hang on the every word of US lawmakers and their views on on-going fiscal cliff talks," said Jason Hughes, head of premium client management at IG Markets Singapore.