NYMEX-U.S. crude edges up above $101, near 14-month high
SINGAPORE, July 4 (Reuters) - U.S. crude futures hovered above $101 a barrel on Thursday, after settling at a 14-month high, as the world's largest oil consumer posted a huge decline in crude stocks and the fall of Egypt's president raised uncertainty in the Middle East.
* U.S. crude for August delivery edged up 6 cents to $101.30 a barrel by 0002 GMT after rising nearly 5 percent in the past three sessions, the strongest three-day gain since early May. There will be no floor trading in the United States on Thursday due to a public holiday.
* Brent crude for August delivery was at $105.84 a barrel, up 8 cents, after settling at its highest since June 19.
* U.S. crude oil stocks fell 10.3 million barrels last week, posting the largest decline for this time of year in about 13 years, data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed.
* Trading in CME Group's benchmark U.S. crude oil contract surpassed IntercontinentalExchange Inc's North Sea Brent in June for the first time in 15 months as the huge price difference between the two contracts collapsed.
* U.S. refiners in the Midwest are losing an advantage they have enjoyed for nearly three years as the gap between the world's two most-traded crude oil grades falls to its lowest in about two-and-half years.
* Iraq's oil exports fell to 2.328 million barrels per day (bpd) in June from 2.484 million bpd in May due to a slowdown in Kirkuk oil shipments after repeated pipeline leakages and bad weather disrupted exports in the south, Iraq's State Oil Marketing Organisation (SOMO) said.
* Brazil's oil and natural gas output fell in May for a 14th straight month compared with a year earlier as platform repairs at state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA, or Petrobras, cut production, oil regulator ANP said.
* A small explosion and fire hit the flexicoker unit of Venezuela's 645,000 barrel per day Amuay refinery on Wednesday, but no one was hurt and firemen brought the blaze under control.
* The euro zone economy looks on track to crawl out of recession in the second half of the year, surveys showed on Wednesday, just as new strains in the region's debt crisis put it all at risk.
* Japan's Nikkei share average is expected to edge up and hold near the 14,000-mark on Thursday on fresh signs that the U.S. economic recovery is gathering pace, but buyers are likely to remain cautious on worries over political turmoil in Egypt and Portugal.
- U.S. stocks ended slightly higher in a volatile half-day session on Wednesday as traders squared positions before the holiday and Friday's job market data.
* The U.S. dollar steadied in Asia on Thursday having veered lower overnight as investors trimmed back long positions into a U.S. holiday and a raft of potentially market-moving events, including the all-important payrolls report.
* The following data is expected on Thursday:
- 1100 GMT Britain BOE bank rate July
- 1145 GMT EZ ECB refinancing rate July
(Reporting by Florence Tan; Editing by Richard Pullin)