NYMEX-U.S. oil on track for steepest weekly drop since July
TOKYO, Sept 13 (Reuters) - U.S. crude steadied on Friday after two sessions of gains, but was on track for its biggest weekly drop since late July amid easing concerns about the potential for U.S. military strikes against Syria.
Investors are now eyeing a raft of U.S. data scheduled for release later in the day for more indications on whether the Federal Reserve will begin unwinding its long-standing monetary stimulus this month.
* NYMEX crude for October delivery was up 2 cents at $180.62 a barrel by 0028 GMT, after settling $1.04 higher on Thursday. Brent crude for October delivery was up 24 cents at $112.87 a barrel, after settling $1.13 higher.
* The U.S. benchmark was on track for a 1.7 percent weekly drop, led by Tuesday's losses that were triggered by Syria's acceptance of a Russian proposal to give up chemical weapons and win a reprieve from U.S. military strikes.
* Brent is down almost 3 percent for the week, its steepest weekly drop since June.
* The United States and Russia started talks on Thursday about Moscow's plan for Syria to surrender its chemical weapons, but the U.S. Secretary of State underscored that military force may still be needed if diplomacy fails.
* A processing platform in Norway's Ekofisk crude stream will be partially shut down in the next week for repairs, its operator said on Thursday, which may further delay shipments of the oil that helps set the Brent benchmark.
* Iran will cooperate with the U.N. nuclear agency to find ways to "overcome existing issues once and for all", Tehran's new envoy said, hinting at a more flexible approach under relatively moderate President Hassan Rouhani.
* Libya's state National Oil Corp has declared force majeure on three ports, following several weeks of shutdown, an NOC document showed on Thursday.
* The yen clung onto broad overnight gains in Asia on Friday as investors unwound bearish positions particularly against the Australian dollar, which suffered a major setback in the wake of disappointing jobs data at home. The dollar index edged up slightly.
* U.S. equities slipped on Thursday, ending seven straight days of gains by the S&P 500 index as a fall in precious metal prices dragged mining shares down.
* The following data is expected on Friday: (Time in GMT)
0900 Euro zone Q2 employment
0900 Euro zone Eurostat trade
1230 U.S. Producer prices
1230 U.S. Retail sales
1355 U.S. Univ of Michigan sentiment index
1400 U.S. Business inventories
(Reporting by James Topham; Editing by Himani Sarkar)