* Euro zone factory output rises for first time since Aug
* Lower IEA demand growth outlook contrasts OPEC, EIA
* Coming up; Euro zone Q4 GDP; 1000 GMT
By Ramya Venugopal
SINGAPORE, Feb 14 Brent crude was steady near
$118 per barrel on Thursday after positive euro zone data,
although a subdued demand outlook by the International Energy
Agency (IEA) may weigh on prices.
Oil, like other riskier assets, has been drawing strength
from indications that a moderate global economic recovery is
gaining traction. This belief got another shot in the arm as
recent data showed euro zone industrial output rose in December
for the first time in four months.
But optimism that oil consumption would improve as the
economy revives was offset by the IEA's move to cut its 2013
demand growth forecast by 90,000 barrels per day to 840,000 bpd,
contrasting a rise in forecast by two other agencies.
April Brent futures which began trading on Thursday,
added 10 cents to $117.98 per barrel by 0338 GMT.
U.S. crude added 14 cents to $97.15 per barrel, but a
rise in crude stockpiles in the world's biggest oil consumer may
keep a lid on gains.
Trading volumes have been lower with China closed this week
for the Lunar New Year holiday.
"Oil has been well supported by economic data and there is
more confidence in the markets," said Ben le Brun, analyst at
OptionsXpress in Sydney. "But I think Brent will be capped at
$120 and we will see strong technical resistance there."
Investors are now waiting for the outcome of the meeting of
finance ministers and central bankers of the G20 countries due
later this week which may throw more light on the outlook for
the global economy.
Factory output in the euro zone increased in December for
the first time since August, by 0.7 percent, beating analyst
expectations for a 0.2 percent increase.
That adds to purchasing manager surveys released earlier
that showed factory activity in the United States and China
picked up, while the service sector in all three regions showed
signs of optimism.
Given increasing signs of a recovery in the global economy,
the U.S. Energy Information Administration and the 12-member
Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries forecast a
faster-than-expected growth in global oil demand this
Oil prices may also be supported by geo-political tensions,
especially after a nuclear test by North Korea and worsening
unrest in Syria.
(Editing by Himani Sarkar)