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Oil prices ease ahead of weekend

Oil prices eased ahead of the weekend as the dollar pushed higher against the euro for a second day, but were little-changed for the week amid continued worries over Ukraine.

NEW YORK: Oil prices eased ahead of the weekend as the dollar pushed higher against the euro for a second day, but were little-changed for the week amid continued worries over Ukraine.

The US benchmark, West Texas Intermediate for delivery in June, fell 27 cents to close at $99.99 a barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for June slipped 15 cents to trade at $107.89 a barrel in London trade.

Carl Larry of Oil Outlooks and Opinion said the fall came as the dollar picked up strength, making crude more expensive in other currencies.

The dollar began rising Thursday after European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi said the bank was ready to take more measures to ease monetary conditions in the eurozone next month.

The dollar has risen around two cents since then, trading at $1.3756 per euro late Friday.

Earlier prices surged on fierce fighting between Ukrainian troops and pro-Moscow militants in a southeastern Ukraine port city that left more than 20 dead.

The market has been on edge all week as tensions have picked up, and traders were looking at Sunday's planned secession votes in parts of eastern Ukraine.

Stoking the anti-Kiev fervor, Russian President Vladimir Putin took a victory lap Friday in Crimea, annexed by Russia in March after a similar referendum.

"We expect political turmoil in Ukraine to continue in the run-up to, and probably also in the aftermath of, the presidential elections on May 25," Dutch bank ABN AMRO said in a note.

Desmond Chua, market analyst at CMC Markets in Singapore, said there would be a "build-up in risk premium" ahead of the planned May 11 referendums.

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