SEOUL, Nov 6 (Reuters) - U.S. crude futures extended gains on Thursday in early Asian trades, as government data showed that U.S. crude stocks rose but less than forecast last week, while gasoline and distillate inventories fell.
* U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose 22 cents to $78.90 a barrel as of 0005 GMT after it previously settled up $1.49 at $78.68 a barrel.
* Benchmark Brent oil closed up 13 cents at $82.95 a barrel on the previous session.
* Data from the Energy Information Administration showed on Wednesday that crude inventories edged up 460,000 barrels in the week to Oct. 31, compared with analysts’ expectations for an increase of 2.2 million barrels.
Gasoline stocks fell 1.4 million barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a 380,000-barrels drop. Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, fell 724,000 barrels, versus expectations for a 1.8-million-barrel drop, the EIA data showed.
* Oil prices jumped on the previous session as a fire broke out on Wednesday during repairs at an oil product pipeline north of the Saudi Arabian capital, Riyadh. The fire has been extinguished, state news agency SPA and security and industry sources said. The pipeline was carrying diesel, not crude oil, an industry source in the country said.
* The oil market was also supported by economic data that U.S. private employers added 230,000 jobs in October, the most since June and exceeding economists’ expectations as mid-sized businesses added the most workers in more than seven years, a report by a payrolls processor showed on Wednesday.
Growth in China’s services sector, however, weakened further in October as new business cooled, a private survey showed on Wednesday, reinforcing signs of a gradual economic slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy that could prod the government to unveil fresh stimulus measures.
* Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi and Venezuelan Foreign Minister Rafael Ramirez have arrived at a climate conference on Venezuela’s Margarita Island and were expected to meet later on Wednesday.
Though recently appointed foreign minister, Ramirez, the former oil minister and head of state oil company PDVSA, remains Venezuela’s OPEC delegation head and has led calls for an emergency meeting due to global price declines.
* The dollar surged to a seven-year high against the yen and global equity markets rallied on Wednesday after the Republican Party seized control of the U.S. Senate in midterm elections, auguring well for pro-energy and other business policies.
* The following data is expected on Thursday: (Time in GMT)
0700 Germany Industrial orders Sep
1245 European Central Bank announces outcome of policy
1330 U.S. Weekly jobless claims
1330 U.S. Labor costs Q3 (Reporting by Meeyoung Cho; Editing by Michael Perry)