NYMEX-Crude firms on U.S. weekend budget talks, inventory drop
SEOUL, Dec 28 (Reuters) - U.S. crude futures edged up to above $91.40 a barrel on Friday ahead of budget talks on Sunday to prevent the United States from plunging off a "fiscal cliff" which could push the top oil-consuming economy into recession.
* U.S. February crude had gained 56 cents to $91.43 a barrel by 0036 GMT, after settling down 11 cents at $90.87 a barrel.
* Brent February crude settled down 27 cents at $110.80 a barrel.
* U.S. Republican leaders in the House of Representatives told their members to be back in Washington from the Christmas holiday break on Sunday in case they need to vote on budget measures to avert big tax hikes due to kick in on Jan. 1 and deep, automatic government spending cuts set to begin on Jan. 2.
U.S. crude inventories fell 1.2 million barrels in the week to Dec. 21, the American Petroleum Institute said in a report released late on Thursday, less than the expected drop.
* The U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration (EIA) will issue its weekly inventory data later on Friday, delayed due to Tuesday's Christmas holiday.
* U.S. consumer confidence fell more than expected in December, hitting a four-month low. Other data on Thursday highlighted the positive momentum building in the economy, with the number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits falling to a nearly 4-1/2 year low and new home sales hitting their highest level since April 2010.
The international envoy seeking a negotiated solution to Syria's 21-month-old conflict said on Thursday political change was needed to end the violence which has killed 44,000 people.
* U.S. stocks fell for a fourth day on Thursday, but recovered most of their losses on the news of weekend budget talks to avoid the fiscal cliff. The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 0.14 percent to 13,096.31. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index ended down 0.12 percent at 1,418.10.
* Japan's benchmark Nikkei average opened up 0.81 percent at 10,406.36 on Friday, while the broader Topix gained 0.73 percent to 860.36.
* The yen's spiral continued on Friday, with the Japanese currency registering a more than two-year low against the dollar. The dollar slipped slightly against the euro ahead of weekend budget talks in Washington.
* The following data is expected on Friday (GMT): 0745 French consumer spending for November 0745 French detailed GDP for Q3 0900 Italy producer prices for November 1445 U.S. Chicago PMI for December 1500 U.S. pending home sales for November 1530 U.S. ECRI weekly N/A U.S. commerce dept. releases Nov building permit revisions 1530 U.S. EIA natural gas stocks weekly 1600 U.S. EIA petroleum status report 1930 U.S. CFTC commitment of traders data weekly
(Reporting by Meeyoung Cho; Editing by Joseph Radford)