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NYMEX-U.S. crude edges down toward $99 ahead of EIA data

SINGAPORE, April 2 (Reuters) - U.S. crude futures inched down toward $99 a barrel on Wednesday, trading near the lowest in 1-1/2 weeks, as investors eyed government inventories data to assess fuel demand at the world's largest oil consumer.

Poor manufacturing data from China and Europe dampened the demand outlook on Tuesday and caused oil prices to tumble, with Brent hitting its lowest in nearly five months.

FUNDAMENTALS

* U.S. crude for May delivery edged down 10 cents to $99.64 a barrel by 0002 GMT after dropping 1.8 percent on Tuesday to its lowest settlement since March 26.

* May Brent crude fell 22 cents to $105.40 a barrel after a near 2 percent drop on Tuesday to settle at its lowest since November 11.

* U.S. crude stocks fell significantly last week against analysts' expectations for a build, while gasoline inventories increased and distillate stocks fell, data from industry group the American Petroleum Institute showed.

* A rebel group in eastern Libya has agreed with the government to end its seizure of vital oil ports within days, a senior leader told Reuters on Tuesday, raising hopes for an end to an eight-month stalemate that has dried up state income and fuelled chaos.

* OPEC's oil output fell in March to its lowest since December, a Reuters survey found on Tuesday, as Iraq's oil revival suffered a setback and outages cut output in African producers.

* An initiative by Iraqi Kurdistan to export oil and ease an impasse with Baghdad fell flat on Tuesday, when it said repairs on the northern pipeline to Turkey prevented it pumping any oil.

* Rosneft plans to start production at its Yurubcheno-Tokhomskoye oilfield in eastern Siberia in 2017, the company said on Tuesday, another delay for a field key to Russia's efforts to at least keep oil production at current levels.

MARKETS NEWS

* Asian share markets were looking to extend their recent rally on Wednesday as investors chose to accentuate the positive in a mixed bag of global economic data, pressuring safe havens such as the yen and government bonds.

* The beleaguered yen found little reprieve in Asia early on Wednesday, the only major currency showing a clear trend as risk appetite stayed buoyant and investors continued to bet on more stimulus from China and perhaps even Japan.

* Manufacturing in Asia and Europe finished the first quarter on a weaker note but activity in the United States remained relatively steady, suggesting severe winter weather in North America had only a modest effect on U.S. factories.

DATA/EVENTS

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

0900 Euro zone Producer prices Feb

1215 U.S. ADP national employment March

1345 U.S. ISM-New York index March

1400 U.S. Factory orders Feb

1400 U.S. Durable goods orders revised Feb

1430 U.S. EIA weekly oil stocks

(Reporting by Florence Tan; Editing by Richard Pullin)