NYMEX-Crude slips to near $96 on fresh euro zone worries

SINGAPORE Tue Feb 5, 2013 6:27am IST

SINGAPORE Feb 5 (Reuters) - U.S. crude slipped on Tuesday to trade near $96 per barrel as traders booked profits on renewed euro zone worries following signs of political uncertainty in the troubled region, while a slightly firmer dollar also hurt prices.

FUNDAMENTALS

* U.S. crude fell 13 cents to $96.04 per barrel at 0033 GMT, after dropping to $95.91 earlier in the session. It has gained for the last eight consecutive weeks, its longest winning streak since 2004.

* Both U.S. crude and Brent oil futures slipped about 1 percent on profit-booking in the previous session.

* Spain's opposition Socialist Party called for the resignation of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy over a corruption scandal on Sunday as a poll showed the lowest support on record for his centre-right People's Party.

* In Italy, chances of former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi regaining power raised worries about Rome's ability to fix its fiscal problems.

* Euro zone factory prices fell for the second month in a row in December, mirroring the trend in consumer inflation and leaving room for a possible European Central Bank interest rate cut to revive the weak economy.

* A gauge of U.S. business investment plans dropped in December, a possible sign companies were losing confidence in the economy's strength due to fears over tighter fiscal policy.

* Sudan has sold a cargo of oil of disputed ownership from South Sudan oilfields, a minister and trading sources said, in what is likely to be seen by the south as a provocation after security and oil transport talks between the two countries fell apart.

* Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said on Monday he saw U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden's offer this weekend of bilateral dialogue between their two countries as a sign of a change in approach to Tehran by Washington.

MARKETS NEWS

* Asian shares eased on Tuesday as investors booked profits from recent strong rallies in the face of weak U.S. data and worries that a potential political shake-up could disrupt the euro zone's efforts to resolve its debt crisis.

* A week-old rally in the euro came to a halt as investors took profits on its stellar gains in the run-up to this week's European Central Bank policy meeting. The euro's decline saw the dollar index rise, rebounding from a 4-1/2 month trough plumbed Friday.

DATA/EVENTS (GMT)

0145 China HSBC Services PMI

0330 Australia RBA cash rate

0848 France Markit Services PMI

0853 Germany Markit Services PMI

0858 Euro zone Markit Services PMI

1000 Euro zone Retail sales

1245 U.S. ICSC weekly chain store sales

1355 U.S. Redbook weekly retail sales

1500 U.S. ISM Non-manufacturing PMI

1500 U.S. IBD economic optimism index

2130 U.S. API weekly crude stocks (Reporting by Ramya Venugopal; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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