SEOUL, April 9 (Reuters) - U.S. crude oil futures remained close to $93.50 a barrel on Tuesday, with investors shifting their attention to Chinese inflation data for clues on the outlook for demand in the world’s second largest economy.
* U.S. May crude had gained 12 cents a barrel to $93.48 by 0118 GMT, after settling up 66 cents at $93.36 the day before on hopes that appetite for oil may exceed earlier expectations. It peaked at $93.75 early Monday, following a 4.6 percent slide last week.
* Brent May crude rose 8 cents to $104.74 a barrel. It had settled up 54 cents at $104.66 a barrel, after reaching a session high of $105.55.
* Chinese consumer inflation data, due at 0130 GMT, is expected to ease to 2.4 percent in March from a 10-month high of 3.2 percent in February. That should reduce the urgency for the central bank to tighten monetary policy, bolstering prospects for oil demand.
* Fears remain about the potential for global supply disruption due to the festering dispute over Iran’s nuclear programme. World powers believe there are enough grounds to keep talking to Iran about the programme, a senior Western diplomat said on Monday, even though the latest round of negotiations made little apparent progress.
* Oil prices were also supported by news that North Korea suspended its sole remaining major project with the South on Monday, after weeks of threats against the United States and South Korea.
* U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said late on Monday loose monetary policy among advanced economies around the world was generally beneficial for all the nations involved, while he did not touch on the outlook for the U.S. economy and monetary policy.
* Japan’s Nikkei average climbed and continued to trade near five-year highs on Tuesday, with the Bank of Japan on a warpath to battle deflation.
* The yen pushed deeper into multi-year lows versus the dollar and euro on Tuesday.
* U.S. stocks ended a volatile session higher on Monday as investors looked ahead to an earnings season expected to show modest growth despite concerns about the economy’s health.
* The following data is expected on Tuesday:
0130 China CPI
0130 China PPI
0600 Germany Trade data
0645 France Trade data
1130 U.S. NFIB business optimism index
1145 U.S. ICSC weekly chain store sales
2030 U.S. API weekly crude stocks (Reporting by Meeyoung Cho; Editing by Joseph Radford)