NYMEX-Crude holds near $91 on China demand hopes, North Sea woes
SEOUL, March 6 (Reuters) - U.S. crude futures stayed close to $91 a barrel on Wednesday on optimism over Chinese oil demand, record-high U.S. equities and North Sea supply disruptions, though a higher than expected U.S. crude inventory build capped prices.
* U.S. crude eased 2 cents at $90.80 a barrel as of 0055 GMT after snapping a three-day losing streak in the previous session by settling up 70 cents at $90.82.
* Brent crude futures previously settled up $1.52 per barrel at $111.61.
* Oil extended gains in post-settlement activity of Tuesday on the news that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez died on Tuesday after a two-year battle with cancer, ending 14 years of tumultuous rule that made the socialist leader a hero for the poor but a hate figure to his opponents.
* Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA said all its installations were operating normally and domestic fuel supplies were guaranteed, following Chavez's death. Venezuela is South America's biggest oil exporter, a top-four supplier to the United States and an increasingly important fuel source for China.
* China's new rulers will focus on consumer-led growth to narrow the gap between rich and poor while taking steps to curb pollution and graft, the government said on Tuesday, tackling the main triggers for social unrest in the giant nation.
Outgoing Premier Wen Jiabao also announced record government spending in 2013 that will sustain growth and maintain the ruling Communist Party's grip on power through an enhanced budget for internal security.
* The American Petroleum Institute released weekly U.S. inventory data after the oil market settled on Tuesday, showing a steep 5.6 million barrel build in local crude oil stockpiles for the week to March 1, including a 259,000 barrel build at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery point for the U.S. oil contract.
* Investors are now waiting for weekly stockpile data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, due out on Wednesday for more clues on the inventory.
* The world's largest crude-exporting company Saudi Aramco CEO Khalid al-Falih said on Tuesday that global oil demand growth has moderated, largely because of environmental pressures and lifestyle changes, as well as energy policies, while concerns about oil supply have been dispelled and output has increased thanks to technological advances.
* The operator of the Brent pipeline said it was still studying whether it would be safe to reopen the oil link in the UK North Sea after a leak at a platform forced a shutdown on Saturday as a precaution, which helped end a two-week slide in Brent crude prices.
* In Nigeria, Royal Dutch Shell declared force majeure on its Bonny Light crude deliveries following a pipeline leak discovered on Sunday. It was not immediately clear how long it would take to repair the line.
* The Dow Jones industrial average soared to a record closing high on Tuesday, breaking through levels last seen in 2007 and as investors rushed in to join the party in anticipation of more gains.
* Japan's Nikkei share average rose to a fresh 4-1/2 year high on Wednesday, as investors were cheered after the Dow Jones industrial average climbed to a record closing high on signs of a strengthening U.S. economy, lifting exporters and financials.
* The euro struggled to gain ground on Wednesday with investors sidelined ahead of the European Central Bank policy meeting. The euro edged up to $1.3047, but was still near Friday's trough of $1.2966. Against the yen, the common currency was steady around 121.80.
* The following data is expected on Wednesday:
1000 Euro zone Revised Q4 GDP
1315 U.S. ADP national employment
1500 U.S. Factory orders
1530 U.S. EIA petroleum status report
1900 U.S. Federal Reserve Beige Book
(Reporting by Meeyoung Cho; Editing by Ed Davies)