Oil prices drop before G20

Oil prices fell on Friday as traders booked profits before a key meeting of the Group of 20 economies.

Brent North Sea crude for delivery in April shed 31 cents to $117.69 a barrel in London midday deals.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for March slid 54 cents to $96.77 a barrel.

Finance ministers from G20 states meet in Moscow on Friday hoping to push forward a stuttering global economic recovery without slipping into a destructive "currency war" of devaluing currencies to boost national economies.

The troubles of the debt-ridden eurozone will for the first time in several international meetings not be centre stage and the main concern is expected to be Japan's controversial plan for "monetary easing" to boost its economy.

The two-day G20 meeting, being hosted by Russia for the first time as it holds the presidency of the world's leading economies, is also a chance for Moscow to present itself as a reliable global economic player.

Crude futures had risen on Thursday as a solid employment report from the United States offset weak economic data from Europe.