SINGAPORE, Feb 20 (Reuters) - U.S. crude futures hovered near $97 a barrel on Wednesday ahead of economic data from the United States and euro zone that may help investors gauge the health of the global economy.
West Texas Intermediate hit four-month highs above $98 last month, but prices have traded below that level since as mostly upbeat U.S. data was countered by worries a recovery in the debt-hit euro zone may take longer than thought.
* U.S. crude for March delivery, which expires later on Wednesday, was little changed at $96.72 a barrel by 0028 GMT. The contract rose 0.8 percent on Tuesday in line with gains in U.S. equities.
* Oil shipments on the Seaway pipeline between the U.S. Midwest and the Gulf Coast will run significantly below the line's 400,000 barrel per day capacity for the 'foreseeable future,' a company filing to federal regulators said, as heavier crudes slow down the line.
* Optimism that the worst of the euro zone debt crisis is over has helped German investor and analyst sentiment soar to its highest level in nearly three years this month.
* President Francois Hollande said France will miss its 0.8 percent 2013 growth target, hours after his foreign minister said the growth rate could come in at less than half that level.
* Global miner BHP Billiton appointed the head of its non-ferrous business as its new chief executive to replace Marius Kloppers, as it reported an expected 43 percent drop in half-year profit.
* A Syrian missile killed at least 20 people in a rebel-held district of Aleppo, opposition activists said, as the army turns to longer-range weapons after losing bases in the country's second-largest city.
* Asian shares edged higher on Wednesday, buoyed by rising global equities overnight on an improving global economic outlook, while the yen resumed its decline.
* The yen held its ground against the dollar on Wednesday as doubts surfaced on whether the Bank of Japan will put into action bold plans to jumpstart the economy, while sterling languished at a seven-month low.
0700 Germany Producer prices
0745 France Business climate index
0900 Italy Industrial orders
1245 U.S. ICSC weekly chain store sales
1330 U.S. Building permits
1330 U.S. Housing starts
1330 U.S. Producer prices
1500 U.S. Consumer confidence
1900 Federal Open Market Committee issues minutes from its
Jan. 29-30 meeting
2130 U.S. API weekly crude stocks
(Reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr.; Editing by Ed Davies)
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