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NYMEX-U.S. crude dips but holds near four-month high

Wednesday, 12 Feb 2014 | 8:09 PM ET

SINGAPORE Feb 13 (Reuters) - U.S. crude oil futures eased on Thursday, but held near a four-month high touched the previous session on expectations one-time landlocked oil will continue to flow to Gulf coast refineries from the U.S. contract's benchmark delivery point.

Government data showed stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma delivery point fell by 2.6 million barrels last week.

Dwindling seasonal demand for heating oils weighed on sentiment. Demand for crude is expected to decrease as refiners head into maintenance season.

FUNDAMENTALS

U.S. crude for March delivery fell 13 cents to $100.24 by 0040 GMT after closing at $100.37 on Wednesday. Oil futures had earlier climbed to $101.38 on Wednesday, the highest level since Oct. 18.

* Brent crude, which rose 11 cents on Wednesday to $108.79, had yet to start trading.

* U.S. crude oil stocks climbed to a higher than expected 3.3 million barrels to 361.35 million barrels for the week up to Feb. 2, data released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration on Wednesday showed.

* U.S. propane inventories dropped by 2.9 million barrels to 27.9 million barrels last week, down 46.7 percent year-on-year, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data released on Wednesday. 1/8ID:nL2N0LH15Z 3/4

* Russia expects its oil output to reach 525 million tonnes (10.54 million barrels per day) this year, a post-Soviet record high, the country's Deputy Energy Minister said on Wednesday.

* Protesters have shut gas and oil pipelines from Libya's Wafa oilfield, and are threatening to block another line from El Sharara field, the oil workers' union and the National Oil Corporation said on Wednesday.

MARKETS NEWS

* Asian markets held steady near three-week highs on Thursday, as investors were cautiously optimistic after upbeat trade data from China eased concerns over the global economy.

DATA/EVENTS

* The following data is expected on Thursday:

- 1330 GMT U.S. retail sales

- 1330 GMT U.S. weekly jobless claims

- 1500 GMT U.S. business inventories

- Janet Yellen's scheduled testimony before the U.S. Senate today has been postponed and a no new date has been fixed.

(Reporting By Keith Wallis; Editing by Richard Pullin)