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Oil Climbs as Supply Fears Persist

World oil prices rose further on Friday as supply worries persisted due to escalating unrest in the oil-rich Middle East and North Africa, traders said.

Brent North Sea crude for delivery in April rose 76 cents to $112.12 per barrel, having rocketed the previous day to $119.79 -- the highest level since August 22, 2008 -- before sliding lower as many traders took profits.

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Calm returns to European markets ahead of weekend

European stock rose on Friday as some calm returned to global financial markets after a rocky week driven by Middle East fears while London resumed trading after a technical glitch closed the bourse for the morning.

In early afternoon deals, the Paris CAC 40 was up 1.21 percent to 4,058.22 points and Frankfurt's DAX 30 added 0.39 percent to 7,158.27 points.

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Brent Crude Oil Nears $120 Before Falling Back

London Brent oil prices jumped within a whisker of $120 on Thursday, hitting fresh 2008 high points, as ongoing Libya instability stoked supply jitters across the Middle East and North Africa.

Brent North Sea crude for delivery in April rallied as high as $119.79 per barrel, which was the highest level since August 22, 2008. It had already smashed past $110 on Wednesday as Libya was rocked by fresh violence.

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Libyan Unrest Weighs on Stocks, Oil up Further

The turmoil in Libya heaped further pressure on stocks around the world Wednesday as investors worry that the global economic recovery may be derailed by the sharp rise in oil prices and swelling inflation.

Concerns that the country is descending into civil war were heightened by comments Tuesday from longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi that he would fight to his "last drop of blood," while urging supporters to strike back against protesters to defend his embattled regime.

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Mexico Tycoon Slim to Buy Tabasco Oil

Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim's Grupo Carso conglomerate will acquire 70 percent of the Tabasco Oil Co. LLC, which has exploration and production operations in Colombia.

Grupo Carso announced the move in a brief statement to the stock exchange late Tuesday, saying it "marks the entrance of Grupo Carso into a new business sector in Latin America."

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Brent Oil Price Hits $108 on Libya Fears

Oil prices struck $108 on Tuesday, as Libyan production was hit by violent protests and concerns grew over spreading unrest in the strategic crude-producing Middle East and North Africa region.

In early morning trade, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in April surged to $108.57 per barrel, hitting the highest level since September 4, 2008, before pulling back to $107.75, up $2.01 from Monday's closing level.

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BP Prepares to Evacuate Some Staff from Libya

British energy giant BP was on Monday making preparations to evacuate some of its staff from Libya amid escalating unrest in the country, a spokesman told Agence France Presse.

"We're just monitoring the situation and making preparations to evacuate some of the families, and some non-essential staff in the next day or two," said the spokesman.

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European Stocks Fall as China Tightens, Traders Eye G20

Europe's stock markets and the euro fell on Friday as investors reacted to fresh monetary tightening in China ahead of an eagerly-awaited Group of 20 finance meeting in Paris.

London's FTSE 100 index of top shares sank 0.48 percent to 6,058.08 points in late morning deals.

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France: G20 to Address Imbalances Not Dictate Policy

The aim of an upcoming G20 meeting is to address global economic imbalances and not to dictate policy to any particular country, French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said on Thursday.

Group of 20 finance ministers and central bank governors are to meet for the first time under the bloc's French presidency Friday and Saturday in Paris, aiming to hammer out common criteria for measuring global economic imbalances.

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Societe Generale Profits Soar

French lender Societe Generale capped a strong recovery in 2010, with net profit soaring nearly six-fold to 3.92 billion Euros ($5.29 billion) as bad loan provisions fell and it cut costs.

The results were in line with analyst forecasts. The group, whose reputation was dented badly by a massive 2008 rogue trader scandal, posted profits of some 3.0 billion Euros over the three quarters to September.

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