For oil traders, a vexing new risk: U.S. politics

By Jonathan Leff NEW YORK (Reuters) – Oil traders are past masters at handicapping geo-political risks, from war in the Middle East to resource nationalists in Latin America. Lately, they face another confounding political landscape: Washington. As a bounty of shale oil transforms the trading landscape across North America, U.S. policymakers are being confronted with a host of issues that hold immediate and material implications to energy companies, investors and traders. While energy policy has typically moved at a steady, stately pace for much of the past few decades, Washington is now grappling with a host of pressing questions that will affect oil prices: easing a crude oil export ban that could raise domestic crude prices;

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