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NYMEX-U.S. crude steady, worries over Fed stimulus drag

Monday, 18 Nov 2013 | 7:58 PM ET

PERTH, Nov 19 (Reuters) - U.S. crude oil futures were steady on Tuesday after dropping the previous session on worries the U.S. Federal Reserve could taper its commodity-friendly stimulus sooner rather than later.

The president of the New York Fed said on Monday he was "getting more hopeful" on prospects for U.S. economic recovery.

FUNDAMENTALS

* U.S. crude for January delivery had risen 2 cents to $93.05 a barrel by 0038 GMT. It fell 81 cents to $93.03 per barrel the day before.

* Brent crude closed at $108.47 a barrel on Monday.

* Top Fed officials from opposite sides of the policy spectrum pointed to improvement in the U.S. economy on Monday, adding more weight to the notion that the central bank is getting close to reducing the pace of its monthly asset purchases.

* U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday he had no specific expectations about world powers reaching a deal with Iran in talks later this week that hope to finalize an interim deal on Tehran's nuclear programme.

* Militia pulled out of the capital on Monday with Libyan army units taking up positions around the city. Libyan crude oil exports have fallen by more than 1 million bpd over the last six months as fighting between rival militias and industrial unrest has spread across the country.

* Saudi crude production rose close to 10 million barrels per day, the highest average level sustained over a four-month period since government records began in 2002. In the U.S., production in North Dakota is nearing 1 million bpd.

* U.S. oil inventories were forecast to have increased by 100,000 barrels last week, while gasoline supply grew by 200,000 barrels, according to a Reuters poll.

MARKETS NEWS

* Asian shares slipped from a two-week high on Tuesday after the previous session's hefty gains on China's economic reform plans, while the dollar was on the defensive.

DATA/EVENTS

* The following data is expected on Tuesday:

0200 China foreign direct investment

1000 Germany ZEW economic sentiment

1245 U.S. ICSC weekly chain store sales

1330 U.S. employment cost index

1355 U.S. Redbook weekly retail sales