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SEOUL May 19 U.S. crude oil futures hovered
above $102 a barrel on Monday in early Asian trade, supported by
concerns over oil output in Libya and other geopolitical
tensions that could disrupt oil production.
* U.S. crude rose 3 cents a barrel to $102.05 as of
0036 GMT, after the contract settled 52 cents a barrel higher in
the previous session.
* Brent crude also gained 10 cents a barrel at
$109.85 after it ended 66 cents higher at $109.75.
* Heavily armed gunmen loyal to a renegade Libyan general
stormed parliament on Sunday demanding its suspension and a
handover of power to purge the North African country of Islamist
* Libya's El Feel oilfield has been shut again by protests,
and its El Sharara field remains closed, bringing national oil
output down to around 200,000 barrels per day (bpd), an official
at the National Oil Corporation said on Friday.
* Last Monday, the government said it was bringing western
oilfields and pipelines back up after reaching a deal with
protesters, but delays have kept national production way off the
1.4 million bpd Libya produced last year.
* The conflict in Ukraine remained a background support as
U.S. President Barack Obama spoke with French President Francois
Hollande about the situation in Ukraine on Friday and the two
agreed Russia faces "significant" further costs if it continues
provocative and destabilizing behavior, the White House said.
* The West should impose tougher sanctions on Russia, which
is waging a "hidden war" in eastern Ukraine, Ukraine's acting
Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsia said in an interview with
German newspaper Die Welt.
* Russia, meantime, is ready to discuss a gas price discount
for Ukraine if Kiev pays off more than the $2.2 billion it owed
as of April 1, Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Friday,
as both sides seemed to edge toward a potential
* Iran and six world powers made little progress this week
in talks on ending their dispute over Tehran's nuclear
programme, U.S. and Iranian officials said on Friday, raising
doubts over the prospects for a breakthrough by a July 20
* A suicide car bomber killed five people on a street of
popular bars and restaurants in the northern Nigerian city of
Kano on Sunday evening, in an area mostly inhabited by southern
Christians, police said.
* U.S. housing starts jumped in April and building permits
hit their highest level in nearly six years, offering hope the
troubled housing market could be stabilizing.
* A separate report on Friday showed consumer sentiment
falling in May on worries over income growth, tempering the
housing data's upbeat signal on the economy.
* Growth in average new home prices in China slowed to a
near one-year low in April, official data showed on Sunday,
adding to concerns about the weakness of the property market and
what policymakers can do if prices start to fall too sharply.
* Global equity markets turned higher in a late-day rebound
on Friday after being down most of the session on concerns about
economic growth, while government debt prices fell on
surprisingly strong U.S. housing data.
(Reporting by Meeyoung Cho; Editing by Richard Pullin)