* Eurogroup due to try to hammer out deal later on Monday
* Egyptian violence erupts, stoking supply concerns
* U.S. White House and Congress set to resume negotiations
By Jessica Jaganathan
SINGAPORE, Nov 26 Brent crude held above $111 a
barrel on Monday as hopes Greece can avoid a near-term
bankruptcy brightened the outlook for oil demand from Europe,
while violent protests in Egypt reignited supply concerns.
The Eurogroup is due to try to hammer out a deal later in
the day to get international lenders to release emergency aid to
Greece before its next debt repayments.
Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was confident a
deal could be reached, while the French finance minister said an
agreement was close.
Brent crude slipped 26 cents to $111.12 a barrel by 0322
GMT, while U.S. crude fell 30 cents to $87.98.
"Markets could be a little bit cautious today on macro
related political events happening this week. On Greece debt
deal, depending on the outcome, oil (prices) could go either
way," said Natalie Rampono, a commodity strategist at ANZ.
"Investors are still uncertain of the situation in the Gaza
Strip ... The main driver for oil prices the next few weeks,
though, will be the U.S. fiscal cliff and whether markets will
pre-empt positive or negative results."
The White House and Congress are set to resume negotiations
this week to avoid a series of automatic tax hikes and spending
cuts worth $600 billion set for January, which investors fear
could tip the world's biggest oil consumer into recession.
Lawmakers in both the Democratic and Republican parties have
been trying to convince the public - and financial markets -
that they are willing to compromise and can reach a deal before
the end of the year.
"After last week's solid gains, equity markets are getting
to a level where investors will need tangible evidence of good
outcomes on Greece, the fiscal cliff and economic growth to push
prices higher," said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC
Markets in a note on Monday.
In Egypt, more than 500 people have been injured in protests
sparked by President Mohamed Mursi's decision to grant himself
sweeping new powers, supporting oil prices which had eased last
week with the Israel-Gaza truce.
Egypt's stock market plunged on Sunday in its first day open
since Mursi issued a decree late on Thursday temporarily
widening his powers and shielding his decisions from judicial
review, drawing accusations he was behaving like a new dictator.
Mursi will meet senior judges on Monday to try to ease the
crisis. Egypt's highest judicial authority hinted at compromise
to avert a further escalation, though Mursi's opponents want
nothing less than the complete cancellation of a decree they see
as a danger to democracy.
Apart from hopes for a Greek deal later in the day, oil
prices also drew support from promising German data.
German business sentiment surprised with a rise in November,
breaking a six-month run of declines. The closely watched
Munich-based Ifo think tank said its business climate index rose
to 101.4, beating forecasts.
However, a regional Spanish election which favoured the
separatists parties raised concerns about the negative impact to
the Spanish economy and its fiscal conditions, and in turn, oil
Catalonia accounts for 20 percent of the economy and
provides the most tax revenue to the central government.
Catalan President Artur Mas, who has implemented unpopular
spending cuts in an economic crisis, had called an early
election to test support for his new drive for independence for
Catalonia, a wealthy region in northeastern Spain.
Voters handed almost two thirds of the 135-seat local
parliament to four different Catalan separatist parties that all
want to hold a referendum on secession from
Oil prices were also supported after U.S. equity markets got
a boost from hopes for strong consumer buying on "Black Friday",
the start of the holiday shopping season.
(Editing by Himani Sarkar)