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NYMEX-US crude holds above $97 on planned U.S. airstrikes in Iraq

SINGAPORE, Aug 7 (Reuters) - U.S. oil futures clung to overnight gains to trade above $97 a barrel early on Friday on renewed supply risks on news that the United States is considering military action against Islamic militants in Iraq.

FUNDAMENTALS

* U.S. crude for September delivery was up 9 cents at $97.43 a barrel by 0015 GMT. The contract on Thursday recovered from a session low of $96.55, its lowest since Feb. 4, to settle at $97.34 on news of the U.S. airstrikes.

* U.S. officials said President Barack Obama was weighing carrying out the first U.S. airstrikes in Iraq since a 2011 pullout of troops, confirming a New York Times report. But White House spokesman Josh Earnest said any U.S. military action would be "very limited in scope" and tied to Iraqi political reforms.

* The September Brent oil contract rose 23 cents to $105.67 per barrel, and up nearly 1 percent for the week.

* Islamist militants surged across northern Iraq toward the capital of the Kurdish region on Thursday, sending tens of thousands of Christians fleeing for their lives, in an offensive that prompted talk of Western military action.

* European oil prices in a year's time have risen to a premium over immediate prices for the first time since 2012, as turmoil in Iraq and Libya and tensions between Russia and the West elevate supply risks in the months ahead.

* Moscow banned imports of most food from the West in retaliation against sanctions over Ukraine, a stronger than expected measure that isolates Russian consumers from world trade to a degree unseen since Soviet days.

* The European Central Bank signalled it stands ready to print money and buy bonds if the euro zone slides towards deflation and warned the conflict in Ukraine poses a serious risk to the bloc's economy.

* Global commodity merchant Cargill Inc is revamping its energy trading unit after two weak quarters in a row and refocusing on U.S. oil markets for a "fresh start" in fiscal 2015, a top executive said.

* Freeport-McMoRan Inc has contacted potential buyers about selling its onshore oil wells in California, which could fetch as much as $5 billion.

MARKETS NEWS

* The euro weakened on Thursday, undermined by the European Central Bank saying it would leave interest rates unchanged at record lows and that the fragile economic recovery will keep the loose policy in place for an extended period.

* European shares slumped and investors moved to safe-haven government debt after a stronger-than-expected move by Russia to ban certain imports from Europe and the United States.

DATA AHEAD (GMT)

0200 China Trade data July

0600 Germany Trade data June

0645 France Industrial output June

1230 U.S. Labor costs, productivity Q2

1400 U.S. Wholesale inventories June

(Reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr.; Editing by Michael Perry)