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Oil prices retreat

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Oil prices slid on Tuesday as data showed a drop in crude exports from Saudi Arabia and as US traders returned to work after a long holiday weekend.

Brent North Sea crude for delivery in April fell 10 cents to $117.28 a barrel in London midday deals.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in March shed 41 cents to $95.45 a barrel.

"We're seeing a little pullback on a relatively quiet day, with data showing Saudi Arabia production dipping," said Jason Hughes, head of premium client management at IG Markets in Singapore.

"Hopefully there will be more life when dealers come back in overnight trading," he told AFP.

Financial markets were closed in the United States on Monday for a public holiday so prices are being compared to the finish in London.

Over the longer term, prices were likely to be "supported by expectations of improving global growth and continuing tensions in the Middle East", Phillip Futures said in a market commentary.

"On geopolitical tensions, the dispute over Iran's nuclear programme continues to stoke supply concerns in the key oil producing region," it said.

"Talks between Iran and major world powers remain deadlocked as investors look ahead to another meeting on February 26 for any signs of progress."

Oil producer Iran has persistently denied claims by major Western powers that it is building an atomic weapon, insisting its nuclear research is for peaceful purposes.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130219/oil-prices-retreat