NYMEX-U.S. crude edges down as OPEC mulls boost
* Kuwait oil minister says OPEC considering output boost
* Crude oil stocks expected to have risen last week - poll
* Coming up: API oil data at 4:30 p.m. EST Tuesday
NEW YORK, March 8 (Reuters) - U.S. crude oil futures prices edged lower and Brent prices fell on Tuesday after Kuwait's oil minister said OPEC was considering raising output in order to make up any supply disrupted by Libya's conflict.
While U.S. crude slipped, prices had bounced well above its early low under $104 a barrel, while Brent crude remained more than $1 lower, as the spread between the two contracts continued to narrow.
Brent's premium to its U.S. counterpart CL-LCO1=R had fallen $1.19 cents to $8.56 at 8:33 a.m. EST (1333 GMT), having narrowed from a record above $17 hit last week, according to Reuters data.
In addition to Libya's ongoing conflict that has sent U.S. crude prices to their highest since September 2008, investors continue to fret about potential supply disruption in the Middle East as unrest and protests spread.
Investors will get the first snapshot of where U.S. oil inventories stood at the end of last week on Tuesday. A Reuters analyst survey on Monday yielded a forecast for crude stocks to be up slightly, with distillate and gasoline stocks expected to have fallen last week. [EIA/S]
The industry group American Petroleum Institute (API) will issue its weekly oil inventory report at 4:30 p.m. EST (2130 GMT) on Tuesday, followed by the government's data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration on Wednesday, at 10:30 a.m. EST (1530 GMT).
* On the New York Mercantile Exchange, April crude CLJ1 fell 11 cents, or 0.11 percent, to $105.33 a barrel at 8:42 a.m. EST (1342 GMT), trading from $103.33 to $105.47.
* OPEC is in consultations regarding a potential boost in oil output but hasn't decided whether to approve one, Kuwait's Oil Minister said. [ID:nLDE72705O]
* There are no plans for an extraordinary OPEC meeting at this time, despite continuing unrest in the Middle East, Algeria's minister of energy and mines Yousef Yousfi told Reuters Insider on Monday. [ID:nN0798073]
* OPEC members are joining Saudi Arabia in raising output to cool soaring prices and allay fears of a supply crunch, the Financial Times newspaper reported. [ID:nL3E7E8071]
* There is no need for OPEC to boost oil production because consumer worries over supply are mostly "psychological" and not based on any real shortage in the market, Iran's OPEC governor Mohammad Ali Khatibi said. [ID:nLDE7270LY]
* Libyan warplanes struck at rebel forces behind the war's eastern front lines, stepping up the government offensive to roll back early rebel gains in the insurrection against Muammar Gaddafi. Reuters correspondents reported at least four air strikes near rebel positions in and around the oil town of Ras Lanuf. [ID:nLDE72701U]
* Oil fell from recent highs after Kuwait's oil minister said OPEC was in talks to boost production for the first time in more than two years, prompting some recovery on equity markets. [MKTS/GLOB]
* Gold was supported near $1,430 an ounce by violence in North Africa but struggled for traction in the face of retreating crude prices and profit taking from Monday's record highs. [GOL/]
* The euro slipped versus the dollar, pausing from a rally spurred by expectations of a euro zone interest rate rise and capped by fresh concerns about euro zone debt problems. [FRX/]
* Copper fell to a two-week low and other metals hit their lowest since the end of January as the Libyan crisis fed investor worries over high oil prices and their effect on global economic recovery. [MET/L]
* American Petroleum Institute oil inventory data released at 4:30 p.m. EST (2130 GMT) on Tuesday.
* U.S. Energy Information Administration oil inventory data to be released at 10:30 a.m. EST (1530 GMT). 8:42 LAST NET PCT LOW HIGH CURRENT DAY AGO
CHNG CHNG VOL VOL CLc1 105.33 -0.11 -0.1% 103.33 105.47 74,165 369,148 CLc2 106.65 -0.08 -0.1% 104.65 106.78 25,737 127,363 LCOc1 113.87 -1.18 -1.0% 112.79 115.29 79,710 205,260 RBc1 2.9818 -0.0203 -0.7% 2.9635 3.0105 3,524 34,950 RBc2 2.9915 -0.0204 -0.7% 2.9758 3.0177 2,518 16,996 HOc1 3.0311 -0.0330 -1.1% 3.0130 3.0712 5,089 51,620 HOc2 3.0427 -0.0332 -1.0% 3.0227 3.0802 2,895 19,514 * NYMEX crude oil for April CLc1 fell 11 cents to $105.33 a barrel by 8:42 a.m. in volume of 74,165 lots. (Reporting by Robert Gibbons; Editing by John Picinich)
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