August 21, 2012 / 12:36 AM / 5 years ago

NYMEX-Crude flat on euro zone policy uncertainty

SINGAPORE, Aug 21 (Reuters) - U.S. crude futures were steady in early Asia trade on Tuesday on uncertainty over policies to help the euro zone after the European Central Bank squashed speculation about further steps to contain the debt crisis.

U.S. crude rose 2 cents to $95.99 a barrel by 0018 GMT, while Brent rose 14 cents to $113.84 a barrel. Brent ended little changed on Monday after swinging in a $2 range, while U.S. crude edged lower, snapping four sessions of gains.

FUNDAMENTALS

* The European Central Bank on Monday sought to quash speculation about the shape its planned bond-buying programme will take, saying that it is misleading to talk about decisions not yet taken.

* A Greek exit from the euro zone would be manageable, European Central Bank policymaker Joerg Asmussen was quoted on Monday as saying, although he would prefer it if the crisis-stricken country remained within the single currency bloc.

* U.S. forces could move against Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, President Barack Obama warned, notably if he deploys his chemical weapons against rebels trying to overthrow him.

* U.S. crude oil stockpiles likely rose last week on higher imports and lower refinery runs, a preliminary Reuters poll showed on Monday ahead of industry and government data due this week. Crude inventories were projected to have risen by 100,000 barrels in the week to Aug. 17, according to the survey of six analysts.

* Iraq’s oil exports from its southern ports have risen by 30,000 barrels per day (bpd) so far in August from July, putting shipments on course for post-war record. The country denied a report that it was helping Iran get around sanctions imposed because of Tehran’s nuclear programme.

MARKETS NEWS

* The euro rose modestly against the dollar on Monday in subdued summer trade as uncertainty about the scope of possible European Central Bank action to contain the region’s debt crisis had investors refraining from making large bets. [FRX/}

* U.S. stocks were flat on Monday on signs of fatigue after a six-week run of gains as the European Central Bank quelled speculation about the form of market intervention that may be taken to stem the region’s debt crisis.

DATA/EVENTS

* The following data is expected on Tuesday

2030 U.S. API weekly crude stocks

U.S. API weekly dist. stocks

U.S. API weekly gasoline stks (Reporting by Elizabeth Law and Ramya Venugopal; Editing by Ed Davies)

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