* U.S. lawmakers struggle to find compromise on fiscal
* U.S. economy improves in Q3; consumer spending stays weak
* Coming Up: CFTC commitment of traders data; 1930 GMT
By Luke Pachymuthu
SINGAPORE, Nov 30 Brent crude slipped towards
$110 per barrel on Friday as critical U.S. budget talks to avert
a looming fiscal disaster appeared to have stalled, denting the
outlook for oil demand from the world's biggest consumer.
U.S. fiscal worries have cut into oil's gains this month
that were spurred by tensions in the Middle East. Brent had
risen 2.4 percent in the first half of November but is now on
track to close the month up 1.6 percent, snapping two straight
"We are trading day to day based on the running drama over
the fiscal cliff, and the market doesn't look very optimistic at
the moment," said Carl Larry, a derivatives broker with Atlas
Commodities in Houston, referring to U.S. talks to avert $600
billion worth of tax hikes and spending cuts, or the so-called
"fiscal cliff" due to start in the new year that threatens to
push the economy back to recession.
"This deal needs to get done, but will it get done before
Christmas, today that seems to be in doubt, but the U.S. can't
afford to let this roll past the deadline."
Top U.S. Republican lawmaker John Boehner, speaker of the
House of Representatives, said on Thursday fiscal cliff talks
had made no substantive progress. This comment came just a day
after President Barack Obama said he hoped to reach a deal
Brent crude dropped 35 cents to $110.41 a barrel by
0225 GMT. Earlier in the session, prices hit $110.57, topping
its 50-day moving average price of $110.56. A breach of moving
average levels can encourage buying, boosting prices further.
U.S. crude was down 38 cents to $87.69 a barrel.
The United States is a critical component to lifting the
outlook for the global economy in 2013, as Europe continues to
struggle with the debt crisis and China, the world's second
largest consumer of oil, heads for a soft landing in 2012.
U.S. economic growth in July-Sept was revised up to 2.7
percent on Thursday from an initial reading of 2.0 percent as
restocking by businesses provided a big boost, but consumer and
business spending - important gauges of the economy - were
"If you look at it on the surface, it would seem that the
economy is doing better, but underlying there are still issues,
and I don't see the U.S. economy being able to lift outlook on
demand next year," said Jim Ritterbusch, president of
Chicago-based Ritterbusch & Associates.
"We are looking at more downward revisions for global oil
demand in 2013, and the market is generally oversupplied."
A Reuters survey suggests the 12-member Organization of the
Petroleum Exporting Countries is still producing over a million
barrels per day (bpd) more than its target of 30 million bpd.
OPEC crude output in November averaged 31.06 million bpd,
down from 31.15 million bpd in October, the survey found. OPEC
is likely to keep its current output target of 30 million bpd
when its members meet next month, OPEC delegates told Reuters.
MIDDLE EAST CRISIS
However, support for oil prices continues to come from the
political crisis in Egypt and Western sanctions on Iran.
An Islamist-led assembly was expected to finalise a new
constitution on Friday aimed at transforming Egypt and paving
the way for an end to a crisis which erupted when President
Mohamed Mursi gave himself sweeping new powers last week.
On Thursday, an alliance of Egyptian opposition groups
pledged to keep up protests against Mursi and said broader civil
disobedience was possible to fight what it described as an
attempt to "kidnap Egypt from its people."
The U.S. Senate is set to consider a broader set of economic
sanctions on Iran's energy, port, shipping and shipbuilding
sectors, as lawmakers look for new ways to pressure Tehran to
stop efforts to enrich uranium to levels that could be used in
The sanctions come as the United Nations' nuclear chief said
his agency has made no progress in its year-long push to
investigate whether Iran has worked on developing an atomic
Israel and its allies insist Iran is trying to build a
nuclear bomb while the Tehran says its program is for civilian
(Editing by Himani Sarkar)