Crude down in Asia on US 'fiscal cliff' fears

Crude prices fell in Asia Tuesday as traders fretted over the looming US "fiscal cliff", analysts said.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in December, shed 56 cents to $85.01 a barrel in the afternoon and Brent North Sea crude for December delivery fell 57 cents to $108.50.

"The oil market is falling on fears of slowing growth and the possibility of going off the fiscal cliff," said Phil Flynn, energy analyst at 321energy.

Rival US politicians must reach a deal to avoid the imposition of deep spending cuts and huge tax hikes on January 1 and which observers say would tip the country back into recession.

There were also European debt fears as Eurogroup head Jean-Claude Juncker said Monday that Greece had made progress on its debt bailout targets but regional finance ministers will have to meet again on November 20 to clear the way for its next aid tranche.

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