TOKYO, Feb 14 (Reuters) - U.S. crude futures edged up to
stay above $97 a barrel on Thursday, paring a 0.5 percent
decline a day earlier, helped by hopes for oil demand growth
after a Reuters poll showed that the euro zone is slowly
starting to emerge from recession.
* NYMEX crude for March delivery was up 14 cents at
$97.15 a barrel by 2354 GMT, after settling down 50 cents at
$97.01 on Wednesday.
It rose as high as $98.11 on Wednesday, within striking
distance of a 4-1/2 month high of $98.24 marked on Jan. 30.
But it was dragged lower after the U.S. Energy Information
Administration (EIA) data showed crude stocks rose by 560,000
barrels last week, though the gain was slightly less than
expected by analysts.
* London Brent crude for new front-month April delivery had yet to be traded after settling up 13 cents at
The March contract expired on Wednesday, settling up 6 cents
at $118.72, supported by the Reuters poll showing that the euro
zone is slowly starting to emerge from recession.
* The U.S. EIA data also showed that U.S. stockpiles of
gasoline and distillates fell, according to its weekly report.
* The International Energy Agency (IEA) on Wednesday trimmed
its world oil demand growth forecast for 2013 by 90,000 barrels
per day, in contrast to the EIA and OPEC, which both raised
their demand growth forecasts on Tuesday.
IEA also said Iranian oil output will likely fall further
from its lowest in three decades as the West tightens sanctions
on the Islamic Republic, depriving Tehran of hard currency
* Demand to move crude oil on the recently expanded U.S.
Seaway pipeline is so strong that shippers must now apply for
space on the line by the 15th of the month, the operator said in
a regulatory filing, 10 days earlier than most other U.S. lines.
* Tesoro Corp reported the restart of the no. 3
hydrotreater unit on Feb. 11 at its 166,000-barrel-per-day San
Francisco Bay-area refinery in Martinez, California, a filing
showed on Wednesday.
* U.S. stocks drifted in light volume on Wednesday, ending
little changed, as investors remained cautious after the S&P 500
index briefly hit its highest intraday level since November
* The yen held near multi-year lows against the dollar and
euro on Thursday, finding a bit of stability following a few
sessions of volatile trade as the outcome of a Bank of Japan
policy meeting loomed.
* The following data is expected on Thursday: (Time in GMT)
- N/A BOJ rate decision
- 0630 France GDP Q4
- 0700 Germany GDP Q4
- 0900 Italy GDP Q4
- 1000 Euro Zone GDP flash estimate Q4
- 1330 U.S. Initial jobless claims
- 1530 U.S. EIA underground natural gas stocks
(Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Ed Davies)
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Keywords: MARKETS ASIA/NYMEX
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