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NYMEX-U.S. crude returns below $100 as stockpiles rise

SINGAPORE, March 12 (Reuters) - U.S. crude futures fell below $100 a barrel in early Asian trade on Wednesday, dropping below the level for a second day as a higher-than-expected rise in inventories in the world's biggest oil consumer revived demand growth worries.

Concerns of a slowdown in China, the world's second-largest oil consumer, after recent weak data also weighed on prices.

U.S. crude dropped 64 cents to $99.30 a barrel by 0034 GMT, after settling $1.09 down at $100.03, its lowest since Feb. 11. Brent futures declined 27 cents to $108.28 after ending 47 cents up.

FUNDAMENTALS

* U.S. crude stocks rose last week, while gasoline and distillate inventories decreased, data from industry group the American Petroleum Institute showed.

* Crude inventories rose by 2.6 million barrels in the week to March 7 to 367 million, compared with analysts' expectations for a increase of 2.2 million barrels.

* Ukraine's government appealed for Western help on Tuesday to stop Moscow annexing Crimea but the Black Sea peninsula, overrun by Russian troops, seemed fixed on a course that could formalise rule from Moscow within days.

* Libya's parliament voted Prime Minister Ali Zeidan out of office after rebels humiliated the government by loading crude on a tanker that fled from naval forces, officials said, in a sign of the worsening chaos in the OPEC member state.

* The U.S. Energy Information Administration revised its U.S. crude oil production forecasts lower, citing the effects of this year's severe winter weather on well completion.

* India has to cut its Iranian oil imports by nearly two-thirds from the first quarter after the United States asked it to hold the shipments at end-2013 levels, in keeping with the nuclear deal easing sanctions on Tehran, Indian government sources said.

MARKETS NEWS

* Asian stock markets were set to turn lower on Wednesday as

economic uncertainty in China and the United States combined with political tensions in Ukraine to keep investors sidelined.

The early signs were dark with Australian stocks off 1 percent and Nikkei futures pointing to an opening loss of at least as much. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan eased 0.5 percent.

DATA/EVENTS

* The following data is expected on Wednesday: (Time in GMT)

- 1000 Euro zone Industrial production

- 1200 India Industrial output

- 1800 U.S. Federal budget

(Reporting by Manash Goswami; Editing by Ed Davies)