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NYMEX-U.S. oil holds above $97 ahead of weekly inventories data

Monday, 9 Dec 2013 | 7:36 PM ET

SINGAPORE, Dec 10 (Reuters) - U.S. crude futures edged up on Tuesday, holding above $97 a barrel, on expectations of a second weekly drop in crude inventories in the United States.

U.S. commercial crude oil stocks are forecast to have fallen by 2.7 million barrels last week, a Reuters poll of analysts showed. In the previous week, crude stockpiles fell by 5.6 million barrels as Gulf Coast refiners deplete stocks for tax reasons.

FUNDAMENTALS

* U.S. crude futures for January delivery edged up 10 cents to $97.44 per barrel by 0025 GMT, after slipping for the first time in seven sessions.

* Brent crude for January settled $2.22 per barrel lower at $109.39, falling below the 100-day moving average of $109.70 for the first time in a week.

* Brent's premium to U.S. crude futures <CL-LCO1=R> settled on Monday at $12.05 per barrel, the narrowest spread in nearly a month.

* U.S. production from the country's vast shale resources will continue soaring, Energy Information Administration forecasts showed on Monday, with oil output rising 25 percent in January from a year ago and natural gas by 13 percent.

* Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said the Iranian nuclear deal would be dead if the U.S. Congress imposes new sanctions, even if they do not take effect for six months, Time Magazine said.

* Libya has lost more than $7 billion and faces new competition from Algeria and Nigeria in oil markets due to strikes at oilfields and ports drying up exports, Oil Minister Abdelbari al-Arusi said.

* Oil and gas companies will spend about $723 billion on exploration and production (E&P) in 2014, an increase of 6.1 percent from 2013, Barclays Bank said in a report.

MARKETS NEWS

* Stocks edged up in early Asian trade on Tuesday, while tighter money market conditions in the euro zone drove the euro close to a five-year peak against the yen and a six-week high against the dollar.

* The Fed is expected to begin tapering its own asset purchases in March, a Reuters poll showed on Monday, but some economists now say that it might do so as early as this month or next.

DATA/EVENTS

* The following data is expected on Tuesday:

- 0500 GMT Japan Consumer confidence

- 0530 GMT China Industrial output

- 0530 GMT China Retail sales

- 0530 GMT China Urban investment

- 0745 GMT France Industrial output

- 1230 GMT U.S. NFIB business optimism

- 1245 GMT U.S. Weekly ICSC chain store sales

- 1500 GMT U.S. ISM semiannual economic forecast

- 1500 GMT U.S. Wholesale inventories

- 1700 GMT World agricultural supply and demand report

- 1900 GMT U.S. Federal budget

- 2130 GMT U.S. API weekly crude stocks

- 2130 GMT U.S. API weekly dist. stocks

- 2130 GMT U.S. API weekly gasoline stocks

(Reporting by Florence Tan; Editing by Richard Pullin)