* U.S. business spending rise boosts oil
* Investors await Fed meeting
* Coming Up: Weekly API oil inventory data
By Jessica Jaganathan
SINGAPORE, Jan 29 Brent crude held steady above
$113 on Tuesday on hopes that economic growth might be picking
up in the world's largest oil consumer after a gauge of planned
U.S. business spending rose in December, adding to recent
positive global economic data.
But traders remained cautious ahead of a U.S. monetary
policy meeting and economic reports out of the United States and
China this week.
Brent crude edged up 8 cents to $113.56 a barrel by
0238 GMT, while U.S. crude rose 19 cents to $96.63.
Markets were waiting for trading cues from the Federal Open
Market Committee meeting on Wednesday and payroll data due on
Friday, said Tetsu Emori, a commodities fund manager at Astmax
Investments in Tokyo.
"I don't think there's much downside risk," he said. "I
think economic data out of the United States has improved, so i
don't think there are any negative factors in the market."
Risk appetite has been improving after a raft of positive
global economic data.
The Commerce Department said on Monday that orders for
non-defence capital goods excluding aircraft, a closely watched
proxy for investment plans, edged up 0.2 percent last month.
Many economists expected businesses to invest more timidly
late last year because of uncertainty over government spending
cuts and tax increases that had been due to kick in this month.
Congress ultimately struck a last-minute deal to avoid or delay
most of the austerity measures.
Despite the uncertainty, Monday's data pointed to growing
economic momentum as companies sensed improved consumer demand.
The Federal Reserve, whose policy-setting panel concludes a
two-day meeting on Wednesday, has said it expects to keep
short-term interest rates exceptionally low to help support the
U.S. nonfarm payroll figures due on Friday are likely to
show the jobless rate unchanged in January and that the U.S.
economy created 155,000 jobs, economists polled by Reuters say.
MIDDLE EAST TENSION
Persisting tension in the Middle East and Africa also
supported oil. Iran said on Monday it had launched a live monkey
into space, seeking to show off missile systems that have
alarmed the West because the technology could potentially be
used to deliver a nuclear warhead.
Suspected Islamist militants attacked an oil pipeline in
northern Algeria, killing two guards and wounding seven other
people, a security source told Reuters.
In Egypt, thousands of protesters ignored a curfew to take
to the streets in cities along the Suez canal, defying a state
of emergency imposed by Islamist President Mohamed Mursi to end
days of violence that has killed at least 51 people.
Overall, the world oil market should remain well supplied in
2013 and OPEC does not need to trim back its oil output,
Secretary-General Abdullah al-Badri said.
GASOLINE PRICES HIGHER
Gasoline hit a near three-month high following news that an
oil refinery in the U.S. northeast region will close, which
could boost oil demand.
The loss of the plant, the latest in the region to fall
victim to poor profits, tightened the supply outlook for the
Northeast, which is likely to have to rely more on imports and
supplies from the Gulf Coast, according to analysts.
"As US refiners typically build up stocks over spring to
meet peak summer demand, the closure of this refinery is
supporting ideas that the supply of gasoline in the summer could
tighten," ANZ analysts said in a note on Tuesday.
(Editing by Clarence Fernandez)