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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 eight cents to $103.30 a barrel in afternoon trade and Brent North Sea crude for August delivery added 24 cents to $107.96.

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.

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 workforce continued to rise, the Labor Department said.

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

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130708/oil-prices-higher-asian-trade-0