NYMEX-Oil eases towards $96.50 after hitting 3-week high
TOKYO, June 14 (Reuters) - U.S. oil prices slipped on Friday after two sessions of gains, recoiling from a three-week high hit a day earlier, on caution over demand and with stockpiles remaining high.
* NYMEX crude futures for July delivery were down 6 cents at $96.63 a barrel by 0001 GMT. On Thursday, the contract rose to $96.92, the highest since May 21, helped by healthy U.S. economic data, before settling 81 cents higher at $96.69.
* On Friday, front month July Brent crude, which expired on settlement, rose 76 cents to $104.25 a barrel. The far more actively traded August contract settled up $1.39 at $104.95.
* U.S. retail sales posted a stronger than expected growth of 0.6 percent in May after edging up 0.1 percent in April. A separate report showed the number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits fell last week, nearing its lowest level in five years.
* North Sea oil output from the main British and Norwegian streams is set to rise by just over 13 percent in July from June, largely due to the Ekofisk oilfields exporting again after maintenance ends.
* Sudan said rebels based in South Sudan had attacked a pipeline in its Diffra oil field on Wednesday, causing an explosion and fire that lasted for several hours. An Army spokesman said the pipeline was being restored.
* The United States has concluded that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces used chemical weapons against rebel fighters in Syria and President Barack Obama has decided to supply direct military assistance to the Syrian opposition, the White House said on Thursday.
* Iran votes on Friday in a presidential election unlikely to result in seismic shifts in its troubled relations with the West and Gulf Arab neighbours, but which could bring a softening of the confrontational style personified by outgoing president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
* U.S. stocks rallied on Thursday after three days of losses as stronger-than-expected economic data helped reassure investors concerned about the expected winding down of the Federal Reserve's economic stimulus.
* The U.S. dollar remained in the doldrums in early Asian trade on Friday, having slumped to a fresh four-month low against a basket of currencies as a bounce-back in global equities saw investors favour the euro and commodity currencies.
* The following data is expected on Friday: (Time in GMT)
0900 EZ Inflation, final yy May
1230 U.S. PPI inflation yy May
1230 U.S. Producer prices mm May
1230 U.S. Producer prices, core mm May
1230 U.S. Producer prices, core yy May
1230 U.S. Current account
1315 U.S. Industrial output mm May
1355 U.S. U Mich 1yr inflation
1355 U.S. U Mich conditions Jun
1355 U.S. U Mich expectations Jun
1355 U.S. U Mich sentiment Jun
1930 U.S. CFTC trade data Weekly
(Reporting by Risa Maeda; Editing by Ed Davies)