UPDATE 1-Brent dips towards $107 on weak China trade data

* Iran, six powers seek to narrow "significant gaps" in nuclear talks

* U.S. crude stocks rise, at a record on the Gulf coast -EIA

* Libya's oil guards take control of Hariga port, Zueitina pending

* Brent to fall to $107.17 -technicals

(Adds comments, updates prices)

SINGAPORE, April 10 (Reuters) - Brent futures eased towards $107 a barrel on Thursday as weak China trade data stoked demand growth concerns and investors booked profits after gains of 2 percent over the past two days.

China's exports unexpectedly fell for the second straight month in March and imports dropped sharply, intensifying concerns about weak manufacturing and slowing growth in the world's second-largest economy. Crude imports by the world's second-largest oil consumer fell to a five-month low, but rose 2 percent versus a year earlier.

Brent crude fell 38 cents to $107.60 a barrel by 0555 GMT, after gaining $2.16 over the past two days. U.S. crude fell 25 cents to $103.35.

"We are seeing a further pull-back in oil because China's trade numbers fell short of expectations," said Ben Le Brun, a market analyst at OptionsXpress in Sydney. "Overall, crude import numbers seem healthy and it shows that oil demand is still there, but oil is just one side of the story."

The trade numbers add to a recent run of weak Chinese data this year that has raised fears the economy may be slowing more than had been expected.

China's crude imports may remain sluggish in coming months because of high stockpiles, strong imports in the first two months of the year and maintenance at refineries.

"Demand recovered more sluggishly after the (Chinese New Year) holiday than usual, and refiners were likely wary of high product stocks," Sijin Chen, an analyst at Barclays said in a note.

"As several major refineries, including the 410,000 barrels per day Dalian refinery, have scheduled maintenance in April-May, runs and imports are likely to remain muted in early second quarter."

Further losses in Brent futures were stemmed by optimism over a healthier demand growth outlook from the Asian giant and the United States.

China's customs bureau sounded an optimistic note about the outlook, saying it saw a pickup in the second quarter due to an improving trade environment.

Over in the United States, minutes of the latest U.S. Federal Reserve's policy meeting suggested the central bank may be more cautious towards raising interest rates, easing market concerns of a pullback in stimulus before the economy is ready.

"Oil prices look set to rise on the back of a continued soft monetary policy that will allow U.S. consumers to spend more," said Le Brun.


A steep fall in gasoline stockpiles in the United States also put a floor on oil prices, overshadowing a rise in overall crude stockpiles in the world's top consumer.

Gasoline stocks fell by 5.2 million barrels to 210 million barrels in the week ending April 4, Energy Information Administration (EIA) data showed, more than the expected 729,000-barrel draw.

Demand for gasoline was 4.4 percent higher than a year ago at 8.8 million barrels per day (bpd).

Crude inventories rose 4 million barrels to 384 million barrels, much more than the 1.3-million-barrel build expected by analysts polled by Reuters.

Oil also drew additional support from tensions in Ukraine and the Middle East.

Libya's state-run Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) took full control of eastern-most Hariga oil port on Wednesday, but a handover by rebels to the PFG had yet to happen at the Zueitina port, a PFG spokesman said.

(Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)