NYMEX-Oil near 16-month high above $106 on stockpile data
TOKYO, July 11 (Reuters) - U.S. crude futures traded near a 16-month high above $106 a barrel on Thursday, holding onto gains of nearly $3 a barrel made the previous day after data showed the biggest two-week decline on record in U.S. crude stockpiles.
* NYMEX crude for August delivery was down 7 cents at $106.45 a barrel by 0028 GMT, after settling up $2.99 at $106.52 on Wednesday. The contract rose as high as $106.95 at one point, the strongest since March 27, 2012.
* Brent crude for August delivery was down 13 cents at $108.38 a barrel, after settling up 70 cents at $108.51.
* U.S. oil inventories plunged about 10 million barrels for a second week in a row, amid signs of the strongest refinery demand in six years and a more than 2 percent increase in gasoline demand from a year ago, according to data from the Energy Information Agency (EIA).
Gasoline stockpiles fell 2.63 million barrels for the week to July 5, against forecasts for a 600,000-barrel build. Distillate inventories rose by 3 million barrels, against expectations for a 700,000 barrel build.
* Oil also got support from a plunge in the dollar after Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke said the U.S. central bank would continue to pursue an accommodative monetary policy as inflation remained low and the unemployment rate might be understating the weakness of the labour market.
A weaker dollar would support oil, which is priced in the greenback, by making it cheaper for holders of other currencies.
* The onset of the summer driving season, the restart of BP's 400,000-barrel per day Whiting refinery and commissioning of new pipelines draining extra crude away from the New York Mercantile Exchange's delivery point at Cushing, Oklahoma, have helped drain swollen supplies in the Midwest.
* The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries on Wednesday forecast demand for its oil in 2014 would average 29.61 million barrels per day (bpd), down 250,000 bpd from 2013, due to rising U.S. shale oil supplies.
* U.S. crude oil is on track for gains to $110 a barrel, its 2012 peak, but may need to correct the rally before getting there, chartists said.
* The Dow Jones industrial average dipped 8.68 points, or 0.06 percent, to end at 15,291.66. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index inched up just 0.30 of a point, or 0.02 percent, to finish at 1,652.62.
* The following data is expected on Thursday: (Time in GMT)
- 0300 Bank of Japan interest rate decision
1230 U.S. Weekly jobless claims
1230 U.S. Import/export prices
1800 U.S. Federal budget
(Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Ed Davies)