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Oil Down in Asia on Profit-Taking

World oil prices fell in Asian trade Thursday as investors continued to lock in profits from recent gains and Libyan rebels exported the country's first crude shipment from a region that they control, analysts said.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for May, pulled back 39 cents to $108.44 per barrel after crossing $109 for the first time in two-and-a-half years in U.S. trade Wednesday.

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Oil Hovers Above $108 Amid Mixed US Supply Report

Oil prices hovered above $108 a barrel Wednesday in Asia after a U.S. crude supply report showed mixed signals about demand.

Benchmark crude for May delivery was up 20 cents at $108.54 a barrel at late afternoon Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 13 cents to settle at $108.34 on Tuesday.

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EU Says Libyan Oil Fair Game as Long as Gadhafi Doesn't Profit

The European Union said Tuesday that the sale of Libyan oil is fair game as long as Western pariah leader Moammer Gadhafi does not profit from exports.

"If revenues don't reach the Gadhafi regime, then we have no issue with commercial dealings in Libyan oil and gas and they should be regulated by normal trade practices," said Michael Mann, spokesman for the European Union's chief diplomat, English baroness Catherine Ashton.

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Kuwait Hopes Oil Prices Will Fall

OPEC member Kuwait said on Monday that oil prices are too high because of unrest in the Middle East and Japan's earthquake.

"Although we are enjoying high prices, we would like to see lower prices ... We would like to see a normal oil price," the CEO of national conglomerate Kuwait Petroleum Corp (KPC), Faruq al-Zanki, told reporters.

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General Motors' China Sales Growth Slows Sharply

General Motors, the biggest overseas automaker in China, said Saturday its sales growth in the world's largest car market had slowed sharply year-on-year in the first quarter.

The U.S. auto giant said it sold 685,583 vehicles over the first three months of 2011, exactly 10 percent more than during the first three months of 2010.

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Bali Profits From Business of Soul-Searching

Being a Hindu yogi once meant renouncing worldly pleasures for a life of solitary meditation, wandering the jungle in search of union with god.

Today, new-age yogis wander the globe from one retreat to another, stay in luxury hotels and preach to the converted masses through a headset microphone.

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Shell sells off Chile refining iNterests

Anglo-Dutch energy giant Royal Dutch Shell announced Friday the sale of its refining and distribution activities in Chile to local oil company Quinenco for $614 million (433 million Euros).

"Shell today announced it has agreed to sell most of its downstream business in Chile to Quinenco for a total consideration of some U.S.$614 million," the group said in a statement.

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Japan Auto Sales Plunge After Tsunami

Japan's car sales plunged nearly 40 percent in March following the tsunami and nuclear disaster, an industry group said Friday.

Automakers sold 279,389 cars in Japan last month, down 37 percent — the biggest ever year-on-year drop for March, the Japan Automobile Dealers Association said.

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Fiat Hopes New Models Will Increase Market Share

Italian auto giant Fiat will increase its European market share in 2011 with the launch of new models in the second half of the year, Fiat chief Sergio Marchionne said on Wednesday.

"For 2011, we expect a general market improvement, with the exception of the European passenger car market, which will be negatively impacted by declines forecast for Italy and France," Marchionne said.

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G20 Meeting Highlights Conflicts Over Currency

The time is right for China to move ahead on internationalizing its currency, French President Nicolas Sarkozy told finance mandarins Thursday at a brainstorming session for the Group of 20 leading economies on reforming the global monetary system.

Differences over exchange rate policies and other key issues were apparent at the meeting in the eastern Chinese city of Nanjing, with Sarkozy urging that China's currency, the yuan, become an international reserve currency, while U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the yuan must trade more freely before that can happen.

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