Oil prices retreat after strong gains

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London - World oil prices dropped on Friday as traders took profits after recent strong gains that culminated in them reaching two-month highs on Middle East tensions and US stimulus hopes, analysts said.

Brent North Sea crude for delivery in September slid $1.15 to $106.65 in London deals.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for August, dropped 93 cents to $91.73 a barrel.

Crude prices were winding down after soaring for most of the week, said Justin Harper, market strategist for IG Markets Singapore.

“They've come down a little bit because of the inevitable profit-taking,” he told AFP.

“They have seen some solid gains in the last few days... so there will be a little bit of profit-taking at the end of this week,” Harper added.

Crude had rallied for most of the week, first on assurances by the US Federal Reserve that they would intervene should the economy falter, and then on increasing tensions in Syria and Iran.

In late Thursday trade, crude surged more than $2.50 as fighting raged in Damascus, while China and Russia vetoed UN resolutions on the conflict.

Meanwhile, Israel accused Iran and Lebanese group Hezbollah of carrying out a suicide bomb attack that killed six Israeli tourists in Bulgaria, raising speculation of a retaliatory attack. - Sapa-AFP

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