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Oil prices mixed in Asian trade

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Oil prices were mixed in Asia on Monday, weighed by a slowdown in China's manufacturing sector and spending cuts in the United States, analysts said.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in April dropped six cents to $90.62 a barrel while Brent North Sea crude for April delivery increased 13 cents to $110.53.

"Asian markets have been suffering a little from weaker-than-expected China PMI which barely showed contraction for February," said a report by IG Markets Singapore.

China's official purchasing managers' index released Friday showed growth in manufacturing activity slowed last month, suggesting a recent pick-up in the world's number two economy is weaker than initially thought.

Sentiment was also hurt as across-the-board cuts of $85 billion in federal spending in the United States kicked in on Friday.

Economists have warned that the cuts could lead to job losses and hinder growth in the still fragile US economy, a key global economic engine.

The spending cuts "won't brighten the outlook for growth or the unemployment rate," DBS Group Research said report.

US President Barack Obama on Saturday urged Congress to find a balanced approach by blending "smart" cuts with reforms.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130303/oil-prices-mixed-asian-trade