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Oil prices higher in Asian trade

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Oil prices climbed in Asian trade Monday after jobs data from the United States beat expectations, boosting confidence in the world's biggest economy.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in August, gained 28 cents to $103.50 a barrel in morning trade and Brent North Sea crude for August delivery added 25 cents to $107.97.

However, a stronger dollar and concerns that the US central bank will taper off its economic stimulus measures as the US economic picture improves limited the gains.

Dollar-priced oil becomes more expensive for holders of weaker currencies if the greenback strengthens, denting demand and putting downward pressure on prices.

"US jobs data outperformed," Phillip Futures said in a market commentary.

"This is viewed as an affirmation to Federal Reserve's optimistic economic projection," it added.

The United States added 195,000 jobs in June, the Labor Department said on Friday in a better-than-expected report that bolstered confidence in the US economy.

The figure was well above analysts' expectations for 166,000 jobs to be added.

The US unemployment rate held steady as expected in June at 7.6 percent, as the number of people in the work force continued to rise, the labour department said.

The unexpectedly strong jobs report suggested the economy was weathering the government's tough sequester spending cutbacks that started in March, analysts said.

mba/mtp

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130708/oil-prices-higher-asian-trade