SINGAPORE Feb 2 U.S. crude oil prices
slipped towards $97 a barrel on Thursday as a
larger-than-expected rise in crude oil stocks outweighed support
from upbeat manufacturing data in China, the United States and
* NYMEX crude eased 24 cents to $97.37 a barrel by
0010 GMT, adding to losses from the previous session.
* U.S. crude oil inventories rose more than expected last
week as gasoline demand fell to an 11-year low, data from the
U.S. Energy Information Administration showed on Wednesday.
* Factory activity rose in China, the United States and
Germany in January, and the three manufacturing superpowers
drove gains in global output even as Europe struggles with
fallout from its festering debt crisis.
* Senior U.N. nuclear inspectors plan another trip to Iran
later this month after holding what both sides described as good
talks on the Islamic state's disputed atomic programme.
* Sudan, stepping up its rhetoric, accused South Sudan of
"hostility" in their row over oil transit fees and said it would
hold Juba responsible for any attack on northern oil facilities,
a state-linked news website said on Wednesday.
* The dollar struggled against the yen in Asia on Thursday,
having plumbed a fresh three-month low for a third straight day,
raising the danger that Japan would act to weaken its currency.
* U.S. manufacturing growth accelerated in January to its
highest level in seven months, though a measure of employment
faded and private sector employers added fewer jobs than
expected, data showed on Wednesday.
* Greece's prime minister will call the country's political
leaders in the next few days to seek backing for more austerity
after the International Monetary Fund warned this was key to
securing the new bailout Athens needs to avoid a messy default.
* The following data is expected on Thursday:
1330 U.S. Jobless claims Dec
1530 U.S. EIA natural gas stocks Weekly
(Reporting by Randy Fabi; Editing by Himani Sarkar)