U.S. Congress approved a deal to avert a fiscal crisis, while promising data from top energy consumer China also supported prices.
The United States averted economic calamity when lawmakers approved a deal preventing huge tax hikes and spending cuts that would have pushed the world's largest economy off the "fiscal cliff" into recession. It also boosted investors' appetite for riskier assets and depressed the U.S. dollar against major currencies. A weaker greenback makes dollar-denominated oil more affordable for holders of other currencies.Brent crude for February delivery rose 92 cents to $112.03 a barrel after touching $112.11, the loftiest intraday price since early December. Brent ended 2012 averaging over $111 a barrel, the highest annual average on record, after geopolitical threats to production offset worries about flagging oil demand.
U.S. crude was up 98 cents to $92.80 a barrel, after rising earlier to $92.85, the highest since October.