NYMEX-Crude edges up to around $89, capped by US fiscal deadlock
SEOUL, Dec 26 (Reuters) - U.S. crude futures edged up to around $89 a barrel on Wednesday, but gains were capped by uncertainty over whether the United States will avoid a fiscal crisis, which could hit demand in the world's top consumer of oil.
* U.S. oil had risen 40 cents to $89.01 a barrel by 0027 GMT, after settling 5 cents lower at $88.61 on Monday prior to a public holiday for Christmas.
* Brent crude previously settled at $108.80, down 17 cents on the day.
* With only a week left before a deadline for the United States to go over a "fiscal cliff", lawmakers played a waiting game on Monday in the hope that someone would produce a plan to avoid harsh budget cuts and higher taxes for most Americans from New Year's Day.
* Congress is expected to return to Washington on Thursday as President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Hawaii.
* Some investors are now looking at a stop-gap that puts everything off for a while as the most promising alternative. Such a fix may help delay the spending cuts and tax hikes further into 2013 as well as work to address in a long-term way a budget that has generated deficits exceeding $1 trillion in each of the last four years.
* International envoy Lakhdar Brahimi pursued mediation efforts in Damascus on Tuesday, but there was no pause in the bloodletting as Syrian Christians marked a bleak Christmas Day with prayers for peace. More than 44,000 Syrians have been killed since a revolt against President Bashar al-Assad erupted 21 months ago.
* Six U.S.-allied Gulf Arab states demanded Iran end what they called interference in the region, reiterating a long-held mistrust of their main rival. A communique issued at the end of a two-day summit of the Saudi-led Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) also urged action to halt mass killings and violations of international law in Syria.
* The yen fell to a 20-month low against the dollar on Wednesday. The dollar rose as high as 85.08 yen on trading platform EBS, the greenback's highest level since April 2011.
* Japan's benchmark Nikkei average opened up 0.51 percent at 10,131.22 on Wednesday, while the broader Topix gained 0.54 percent to 842.52.
* U.S. stocks edged lower on Monday as caution over the potential for volatility driven by worries about the fiscal cliff dampened enthusiasm at the start of a seasonally strong period for equities.
* The following data is expected on Wednesday (GMT):
1245 - ICSC/Goldman Sachs Weekly U.S. Chain store sales
1355 - Redbook Weekly U.S. retail sales
1400 - U.S. S&P/Case-Shiller home price index for October
1500 - Richmond Fed Manufacturing, Services index for Dec
(Reporting by Meeyoung Cho; Editing by Joseph Radford)