* Putin visits Crimea for first time since annexation
* EU lays groundwork for sanctions on Russian companies
* China's PPI falls, CPI rises
* U.S. dollar rises, caps gains in U.S. crude
* Opposition to new Libyan PM may scupper oil port deal
(Adds settlement prices, CFTC data and analyst commentary)
By Elizabeth Dilts
NEW YORK, May 9 U.S. crude futures fell modestly
in range-bound trade on Friday as the market balanced support
from a drawdown in domestic crude stockpiles against technical
sell points that have kept oil from rallying, while Brent was
lower as traders awaited developments in the Ukraine crisis.
U.S. crude oil settled 27 cents down at $99.99 per
barrel, and edged 0.24 percent higher over last week after U.S.
government data on Wednesday showed crude supplies fell last
week for the first time since late March, though overall
supplies are still at record highs.
U.S. crude prices have been contained in a tight $2-trading
range throughout the week, struggling to rise much above the
200-day moving average at $100.48 and finding a floor at the
100-day moving average of $99.44.
"Oil at just below $100 is pretty fair given that commercial
supplies are at near record highs," said Phil Flynn, "There's a
lot of support around $99.50. We're closing near the lower low
of the range but the next new resistance will probably be
$101.50. That will be the channel we're in barring a major risk
Oil speculators cut net long U.S. crude positions in the
week to May 6, according to data from the U.S. Commodity Futures
Brent futures fell 15 cents to settle $107.89 per
barrel, and was on track to shed about half a percent over last
A stronger U.S. dollar, which traded at a one-week high
against a basket of its major trading partners' currencies,
, added pressure on crude as oil and other commodities
priced in the greenback are more expensive when the dollar rises
Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Crimea for the
first time since Russia annexed the peninsula from Ukraine, a
move that angered Kiev and upset the West, while bloody clashes
broke out between pro-Moscow separatists and Ukrainian forces in
the port of Mariupol.
Separatists in eastern Ukraine will go ahead on Sunday with
a referendum on self-rule that could lead to war with Ukraine,
having ignored a public call from Putin on Thursday to postpone
European Union ambassadors agreed to add about 15 people and
several Crimean-based companies to the EU's list of sanctions
against Russia over its annexation of Crimea, though the group
said it will wait to until Monday after the referendum to make a
China's consumer price index rose in April from a year
earlier, while the producer price index fell, bolstering market
expectations that authorities will ease monetary policy or take
other steps to reverse the slowdown in momentum.
The potential for increased Libyan oil exports remained a
background factor that could affect Brent prices, either to the
up or downside.
A Libyan government deal to reopen major oil ports
controlled by rebels was seen as unravelling after the
appointment of a new Islamist-backed prime minister fuelled
distrust and eroded support for the accord, bullish for Brent.
However, Libya's government said it remained committed to
implementing the agreement with rebels and reopening the eastern
ports of Ras Lanuf and Es Sider, bearish for Brent.
Oil investors were also watching the outcome of talks
between Iran and world powers over ending Tehran's disputed
nuclear program, and the slow, steady progress was helping cap
gains in oil prices.
Iran and six world powers held more talks that both sides
described as useful, although a Western diplomat said they were
still struggling to overcome deep disagreements on the future of
Iranian atomic capabilities.
(Additional reporting by Julia Fioretti in London, and Manash
Goswami, Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen in Singapore; Editing by
Christopher Johnson, Jason Neely, Marguerita Choy and Chizu