Oil prices eased on profit-taking in Asian trade today after enjoying healthy gains at the end of last week following encouraging US jobs data, analysts said.

New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in March, dropped 25 cents to $97.52 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for March also shed 25 cents to $116.51.

“We’re starting to see a little healthy pullback. Oil prices were quite strong last week on US non-farm payrolls results,” said Yang Weiming, premium client manager at IG Markets Singapore.

The US Labour Department had on Friday released figures showing a significant upward revision in the number of net jobs added each month in 2012, with monthly growth averaging 181,000, well above the prior estimate of 153,000.

Crude prices were also supported by encouraging Chinese manufacturing data that indicated the world’s biggest energy consumer is picking up strength after several quarters of slowing growth.

(This article was published on February 4, 2013)
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