Crude edges lower on pre-holiday profit taking

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Crude oil futures slipped on Monday in light volume as traders booked profits after three days of gains ahead of the Christmas holiday though refinery strikes in France and internal strife in producers Libya and South Sudan checked losses.

Brent crude shed 10 cents a barrel, after gaining 2.7 percent last week and touching a two-week high of $111.93 earlier in the session. U.S. crude for February delivery settled at $98.91 a barrel, down 41 cents.

The spread between the two benchmarks widened slightly to $12.57.

Escalating tension and violence in South Sudan threatened the country's 245,000 barrels per day (bpd) oil output.

This could add to the more than 1 million bpd of lost supply from Libya where ports were shut by a group demanding greater autonomy.

South Sudan's ambassador in Khartoum said on Sunday that oil was flowing normally although the country's main investor China National Petroleum Company has evacuated its oil workers from the fields to the capital Juba.

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