SEOUL, March 6 U.S. crude oil futures retreated
to below $101 a barrel on Thursday in early Asian trade on
expected weak demand during refinery maintenance season in the
United States and Europe, while geopolitical risks over Ukraine
* U.S. crude for April delivery lost 46 cents at
$100.99 a barrel as of 0000 GMT after it ended the previous
session $1.88 lower at $101.45.
* Brent oil for April delivery settled $1.54 lower
* U.S. crude oil stockpiles rose more than expected last
week as imports increased and refinery output fell, data from
the Energy Information Administration showed on Wednesday.
* Crude oil inventories rose by 1.4 million barrels in the
week ending Feb. 28, compared with analysts' expectations for a
build of 1.3 million barrels. Imports rose by 75,000 bpd and
refinery utilization slipped 0.6 percent.
* U.S. oil refiners are expected to take 1,608,000 barrels
per day (bpd) of capacity offline in the week ending March 7, up
from 1,412,000 bpd the previous week, data from research company
IIR showed on Wednesday.
* Foreign ministers from Ukraine, Russia and Western nations
agreed on Wednesday to continue discussions in coming days on
how to stabilize Ukraine and presented a number of ideas for how
to reach that goal, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said.
* Severe weather across much of the United States took a
toll on shopping and consumer spending in recent weeks, leading
to slower economic growth or outright contraction in some areas
of the world's largest economy, the Federal Reserve said on
* U.S. private employers added 139,000 jobs in February, shy
of economists' expectations, and gains in the previous month
were revised lower, a report by a payrolls processor showed on
* The falls in oil markets, meanwhile, are limited as
Libya's El Sharara oil field remains shut by an ongoing sit-in
protest, the field's manager said on Wednesday, adding there was
no sign of production resuming.
* World markets were calm on Wednesday after two days of
wild swings, with the United States and Russia set to hold talks
on easing East-West tension in Ukraine.
* Wall Street shares finished little changed, with the
Standard & Poor's 500 index finished just a hair below
its record closing high set on Tuesday.
* Spot gold, a safe-haven asset that rose on the
Russia-West tensions, gained 0.1 percent to $1,339.99 an ounce
after dropping 1.2 percent on Tuesday.
* The following data is expected on Thursday: (Time in GMT)
1100 Germany Industrial orders
1200 Britain BOE Bank Rate
1245 Euro zone ECB refinancing rate
1330 ECB President Draghi holds news conference
1330 U.S. Weekly jobless claims