NYMEX-U.S. crude inches up; focus on Seaway pipeline
PERTH, Jan 8 (Reuters) - U.S. crude futures inched up in early Asian trading on Tuesday after settling higher in New York as the market focused on the completion of a U.S. pipeline expansion project at the end of the week. The expansion of the Seaway pipeline to 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) from 150,000 bpd should help reduce the crude oil glut around Cushing, Oklahoma - delivery point of the U.S. benchmark futures contract.
* U.S. crude for February delivery rose 7 cents to $93.26 a barrel by 0051 GMT.
* Brent crude for February settled at $111.40 per barrel in London on Monday.
* A Reuters technical analysis showed that U.S. oil may retest a resistance zone of $93.89-$94.17 per barrel, a break above which would open the way towards $95.37. Brent oil will stay neutral as long as it remains in a range of $110.50-$112.41 per barrel, another Reuters technical analysis showed.
* The Seaway pipeline expansion, which will bring more crude oil from the bottlenecked midcontinent market around Cushing to premium-priced refiners on the Gulf Coast, is due to be completed by Friday.
* Figures on Monday showed euro zone factory prices fell in November for the first time in five months, dragged by a slide in the cost of energy and giving the ECB room to consider a possible interest rate cut.
* OPEC oil output fell in December, surveys showed last week, partly due to curbs by top exporter Saudi Arabia in response to lower demand. More cutbacks by the Saudis may be needed to prevent falls in prices.
* Asian shares steadied on Tuesday but prices were capped by investor caution ahead of corporate earnings season for the last quarter of 2012 and the European Central Bank's policy meeting later in the week.
* The yen bumped higher against the dollar and the euro in early Asian trading on Tuesday, as investors took profits after the Japanese unit's recent surge. The euro was steady against the dollar, buying $1.3124, holding well above its three-week low of $1.2998 touched on trading platform EBS on Friday, as investors looked ahead to this week's European Central Bank meeting.
DATA/EVENTS The following data is expected on Tuesday: 1000 GMT EZ Business climate Dec 2012 1000 GMT EZ Economic sentiment Dec 2012 1245 GMT U.S. ICSC chain stores yy Weekly
(Reporting by Rebekah Kebede; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)