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Oil prices retreat after recent highs

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

World oil prices eased on Monday on profit-taking after a pre-weekend rally sparked by better-than-expected jobs data from the United States, the world's biggest economy and consumer of crude.

Brent North Sea crude for delivery in August shed 65 cents to stand at $107.07 a barrel in London midday deals.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for August, dipped 21 cents to $103.01 a barrel.

"A lack of economic data releases for today leave markets struggling, with direction from only Friday's non-farm payrolls and unemployment rate to digest," said Kash Kamal, research analyst at Sucden brokers.

The United States added 195,000 jobs in June, the Labor Department said ahead of the weekend. 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 unexpectedly strong jobs report suggested the economy was weathering the government's tough so-called sequester spending cutbacks that started in March, analysts said.

Crude futures had shot higher on Friday, with both contracts gaining two dollars on optimism for a strengthening US economy after the better-than-expected jobs growth report and on worries about unrest in Egypt.

Markets are pricing in the risk of prolonged unrest in Egypt after its army last week overthrew and detained Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi.

While not a major crude exporter, Egypt is home to key oil choke points such as the Suez Canal and the Sumed Pipeline.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130708/oil-prices-retreat-after-recent-highs