Oil prices retreat on profit-taking

World oil prices fell on Friday as traders cashed in recent gains following signs of strengthening US energy demand and geopolitical concerns over Syria, analysts said.

Brent North Sea crude for delivery in June dropped 60 cents to $102.81 a barrel in London midday deals.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for June, shed 66 cents to $92.98 per barrel.

"There has been a slight pullback in prices on profit taking," Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney, told AFP.

"We've seen some very strong gains in oil over the past few days, with US stockpiles data and news on Syria."

Oil prices had jumped Thursday after the United States said Syrian government forces had likely used chemical weapons, raising worries that Washington would punish Damascus militarily.

Earlier in the week, crude markets had also been supported by lower-than-expected gain in US crude stockpiles, suggesting demand in the world's top crude consumer was on the path to recovery.