NYMEX-Crude slips below $97, but eyes weekly gain
SINGAPORE, June 28 (Reuters) - U.S. crude oil futures dropped below $97 a barrel on Friday, hurt by a firmer dollar, but were on track to gain for the week.
* U.S. crude for August delivery eased 44 cents to $96.61 a barrel by 0057 GMT. For the week, the contract is still up around 3 percent, its third gain in four weeks. It is nearly flat for the quarter.
* Brent crude slipped 34 cents to $102.48 per barrel. Despite the drop, Brent is also up for a third week in four, but is looking at its third straight quarterly drop, its longest losing streak since late 1997 to mid-1998.
* Risk assets have been sold off since last week when Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said the central bank expected to reduce the pace of bond buying later this year, and to end the program altogether by mid-2014, if the economy improves as expected.
* Two Federal Reserve policymakers sought to dissuade investors that monetary accommodation was fading any time soon, each going so far as to say markets have misinterpreted the U.S. central bank's intentions, helping lift equities although most commodities, led by gold fell.
* The cheap money from the U.S. central bank had buoyed investments in commodities in recent years, helping lift prices to historical peaks.
* The commodities rout in June and the past quarter had been largely fueled by worries over U.S. stimulus being scaled back and slower Chinese growth. If concerns over tight liquidity in China lingers, selling pressure may be intact in July.
* China's central bank is squeezing funds out of the money market, forcing banks to borrow money at historic interest rate levels, but the manoeuvre appears to have been calculated to have limited impact on the real economy.
* Asian shares stretched gains to a third day on Friday, tracking firmer global equities, while the dollar hovered just below a four-week peak.
0600 Germany Retail sales
0645 France Consumer spending
1200 Germany Consumer inflation
1345 U.S. Chicago PMI
(Reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr.; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)