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US oil notches slim gains; all eyes on US debt talks

Andrew Burton | Getty Images

Crude prices were mixed to slightly higher on Monday, with U.S. oil ending modestly higher as traders covered short positions in the event that U.S. politicians reach a deal to fund the government after being unable to come to terms on such funding in the last two weeks.

The U.S. Senate leader said he hopes to have a fiscal plan ready to show President Obama at 3 p.m. Eastern on Monday, after weekend talks showed some signs of progress.

Brent futures recovered from a drop of more than $1, trading near $111 per barrel and down about 30 cents on the day. U.S. oil settled up 39 cents at $102.41.

Oil speculating on Washington: Pro

Brent oil prices were also lower as geopolitical tensions with Iran are expected to ease. Talks about Iran's nuclear program are due to start in Geneva on Tuesday and will be the first since the election of President Hassan Rouhani, who has tried to improve ties with the West to pave the way for an end to sanctions, which have cut Iranian oil exports by more than one million barrels per day.

Ten U.S. senators said they were open to suspending the implementation of new sanctions on Iran but only if Tehran takes significant steps to slow its nuclear program.

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