NYMEX-U.S. crude holds near $105 ahead of China data
SINGAPORE, Sept 23 (Reuters) - U.S. crude futures steadied near $105 a barrel on Monday after losing more than 3 percent in the past two sessions, with investors looking towards Chinese manufacturing data for more clues on the economic health of the world's No. 2 oil consumer.
* U.S. crude for November delivery was off 9 cents at $104.66 a barrel by 0049 GMT. The October contract touched a 2-1/2-week low of $104.32 before it expired on Friday as traders banked profits.
* Brent crude was also down 9 cents at $109.13 per barrel. It fell 3.2 percent last week in its biggest weekly decline in three months.
* The HSBC manufacturing flash purchasing managers' index for China, due at 0145 GMT, may help set the tone for markets this week after the Federal Reserve's shock decision to keep its stimulus only lifted commodity prices briefly last week.
* Further upbeat Chinese data should cement expectations that the world's No. 2 economy has regained its footing in the third quarter after a weak first half of the year.
* The Fed could still scale back its massive bond-buying programme at its next policy meeting in October should data point to a stronger economy, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said.
* Syria gave details of some of its chemical weapons to a U.N.-backed arms watchdog at The Hague but needs to fill in gaps by next week to launch a rapid disarmament operation that may avert U.S. air strikes.
* India's imports of Iranian oil shot up in August to more than four times the volume taken in July as one refiner resumed purchases after a four-month break, but the average annual pace of shipments is still far below last year's levels.
The dollar held off a seven-month low, having found some support after Bullard suggested there is a chance the central bank may scale back stimulus next month.
* Asian markets got off to a lacklustre start ahead of the manufacturing data from China, while the euro had only the briefest of lifts from Chancellor Angela Merkel's landslide victory in Germany's general election.
0145 China HSBC Manufacturing Flash PMI
0658 France Markit Manufacturing Flash PMI
0728 Germany Markit Manufacturing Flash PMI
0758 Euro zone Markit Manufacturing Flash PMI
1230 U.S. Chicago national activity index
1258 U.S. Markit Manufacturing Flash PMI
1300 European Central Bank president to testify at European Parliament economic committee
(Reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr.; Editing by Joseph Radford)