NYMEX-Crude steady under $96 as excess local supply weighs
SINGAPORE, Feb 8 (Reuters) - U.S. crude steadied under $96 per barrel in early Asian trade on Friday, weighed by higher domestic supplies, which may be aggravated by the possible delayed restart of BP's Indiana refinery.
* U.S. crude futures were trading 3 cents higher at $95.86 per barrel at 0013 GMT. It is down nearly 2 percent this week, poised for its first loss in six weeks.
* Brent crude futures closed Thursday at a five-month high of $117.24 per barrel, while its premium to its U.S. counterpart jumped to more than $21, the highest since mid-December.
* Iran's highest authority, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on Thursday slapped down an offer of direct talks made by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden last week, dimming prospects for a resolution of a dispute seen as a major risk factor for oil markets.
* China's economic rebound should show signs of strengthening when the first hard numbers of the year are released, but distortions caused by the Lunar New Year holiday will make it difficult to gauge momentum.
* Oil major BP Plc will not restart a 260,000 barrel per day crude distillation unit at its 410,000 bpd Whiting, Indiana refinery until July, several oil traders said on Thursday, citing a report by IIR Energy.
* Japan and Saudi Arabia will sign an agreement this weekend that will allow Tokyo to make emergency requests for additional supplies of crude oil, Japan's Nikkei newspaper reported in its Friday edition.
* The European Central Bank will monitor the economic impact of a strengthening euro, ECB President Mario Draghi said on Thursday, feeding expectations the climbing currency could open the door to an interest rate cut.
* Tunisia's political crisis may deepen on Friday with strikes and protests planned around the funeral of an assassinated opposition politician.
* U.S. stocks declined on Thursday, taking a step back from their recent advance, prompted by Draghi's comments.
* The euro slid against the dollar and yen on Thursday.
N/A China Exports
N/A China Imports
N/A China Trade balance
0530 China CPI
0530 China PPI
0700 Germany Trade balance
0900 Italy Industrial output
1330 U.S. International trade
1700 U.S. World Agricultural Supply and Demand Report
1930 U.S. CFTC commitment of traders data
(Reporting by Ramya Venugopal; Editing by Joseph Radford)