NYMEX-U.S. oil prices steady in pre-holiday trading
PERTH Dec 23 (Reuters) - U.S. oil futures held steady in early Asian trading on Monday despite some concerns about short supplies and reports of improving economic growth in the United States, the world's largest oil consumer.
* U.S. crude for February delivery slipped 6 cents to $99.26 per barrel by 0049 GMT on Monday, not far off Friday's two-month high.
* February Brent crude (LCOc1) rose 4 cents to $111.81 per barrel.
* Worries about short supplies have caused the oil market's pricing dynamics to shift in recent days, with prices for nearby delivery of oil rising above prices for forward delivery, Saudi Arabia's oil minister said on Saturday, and played down suggestions that the kingdom was ready to cut production.
* Force should be used to reopen Libya's oil ports which were seized by a group demanding greater autonomy for the country's eastern part, Libya's oil minister said Saturday. Libya's oil output has dropped to around 250,000 barrels per day (bpd) from 1.4 million five months ago.
* South Sudan's output of 245,000 barrels per day was still flowing normally despite fighting reaching vital oil fields, according to a government official. China National Petroleum Co , a leading oil investor in South Sudan, said on Friday it was evacuating oil workers from its oilfields to the capital, Juba.
* The U.S. economy grew at its fastest pace in almost two years in the third quarter, signaling potentially stronger fuel demand.
* The United States said its allies will have ways to reimpose sanctions on Iran if the Islamic Republic is caught making bombs after striking a deal to freeze its nuclear program.
* Speculators added bullish bets to their U.S. crude futures and options positions in the week to Dec. 17, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission said on Friday.
* Workers voted to end a strike over pay at Total's Donges refinery in western France on Sunday, the oil company said, though industrial action continued at three other plants. The French strikes, along with U.S. refinery glitches, have helped push up U.S. gasoline prices.
* Asian markets inched cautiously higher on Monday encouraged by record highs for Wall Street, though anxiety over a credit squeeze in China has weighed on shares there while adding to pressure on emerging market currencies.
* The U.S. dollar got off to a sluggish start in Asia on Monday, having slipped late last week as investors took some profits although analysts still expect its longer-term uptrend to stay intact.
* The following data is expected on Monday:
0700 Germany Import prices
0900 Italy Consumer confidence
1330 U.S. Personal income
1330 U.S. Chicago national activity index
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