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Oil prices mixed in Asia ahead of US jobs data

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Oil prices were mixed in Asia on Friday as traders waited cautiously for the release of US jobs data for March later in the day, analysts said.

New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate light sweet crude for delivery in May, shed 13 cents to $93.13 a barrel while Brent North Sea crude for May increased seven cents to $106.41 in the afternoon.

Oil prices had fallen in New York on Thursday in the wake of unexpectedly high US jobless claims and concerns about a supply glut in the world's largest economy and energy consumer.

"Prices have ticked up a little, but the market is really pretty quiet and holding steady," said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney.

"Traders are fairly cautious prior to the release of US payrolls figures. They are waiting to add that to the equation before reacting either positively or negatively," he told AFP.

The US Labor Department will release its jobs and unemployment report later Friday. Most analysts have pencilled in growth of 192,000 in March, down from a February spike of 236,000.

The unemployment rate was expected to stay at 7.7 percent for a second straight month.

On Thursday, official data showed new claims for unemployment benefits totalled 385,000 in the week ending March 30, up 28,000 from the prior week. Analysts had expected claims to fall.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130405/oil-prices-mixed-asia-ahead-us-jobs-data