Oil prices ease in Asia after recent rally

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in February dipped to US$95, while Brent North Sea crude for March delivery dipped to US$111.5. Oil prices dipped in Asia at the start of the week as investors took profit following gains last week driven by encouraging economic data from the United States and China. Reports from China showed that while economic growth slowed for the second consecutive year in 2012, output climbed 7.9% in Q4 compared with the year-earlier period. Additionally, numbers from USA indicated better-than-expected US data on jobless claims and housing starts. Prices also found support last week by the seizure by radical Islamists of a gas plant in the Algerian desert.
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