* Weak fundamentals keep Brent near 14-mth low
* Brent could test $100, but should meet strong support
* Coming up: U.S. API oil inventory data at 2030 GMT
By Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen
SINGAPORE, Aug 19 Brent crude edged up towards
$102 a barrel on Tuesday, but stayed near a 14-month low reached
in the previous session on weak demand and easing concerns over
risks to supply.
Brent shed nearly $2 on Monday, as investor worries over
conflict in Iraq eased, and as higher Libyan oil output added to
already ample supplies.
"There is still plenty of oil in the market, mostly due to
weak demand from refineries in Europe and Asia," said Yusuke
Seta, a commodity sales manager at Newedge Japan.
"At the moment, I don't see any factors that could possibly
bring demand back into the market."
Brent crude for October delivery had risen 21 cents
to $101.81 a barrel by 0328 GMT, after closing $1.93 a barrel
lower on Monday.
U.S. crude for September delivery was 36 cents higher
at $96.77 a barrel. The contract, which expires on Wednesday,
ended the previous session down 94 cents.
"Brent could test $100, but should find very very strong
support at that level. OPEC countries will take action, if oil
goes below $100, because they won't be able to maintain their
budgets," said Seta.
HIGHER U.S. OIL STOCKS
Iraqi and Kurdish forces recaptured Iraq's biggest dam from
Islamist militants with the help of U.S. air strikes to secure a
vital strategic objective in fighting that threatens to break up
the key oil producing country.
In Ukraine, government forces advanced on pro-Russian
rebels, but continued fighting in the country suggests the risks
are far from over. Dozens of people, including women and
children, were killed on Monday as they fled fighting in eastern
Ukraine when their convoy of buses was hit by rocket fire.
The U.S. dollar gained against a basket of major currencies,
while global equities also rose with Nasdaq hitting a 14-year
high on Monday, supported by positive U.S. housing data and
decreasing worries over Ukraine. A stronger greenback could drag
on dollar-denominated oil.
U.S. commercial crude oil and refined product stockpiles
were forecast to have fallen in the week to Aug. 15, a
preliminary Reuters survey of analysts showed.
The analysts estimated, on average, that crude oil stocks
decreased 1.5 million barrels last week. Distillate stockpiles
were seen down 200,000 barrels, and gasoline inventories down
1.7 million barrels.
The survey was taken ahead of weekly inventory reports from
industry group the American Petroleum Institute (API) due at
2030 GMT and from the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy
Information Administration (EIA) due on Wednesday.
The U.N. nuclear watchdog chief said on Monday Iran had
begun implementing transparency measures ahead of an Aug. 25
deadline, as part of a long-running investigation into suspected
atomic bomb research by Tehran.
(Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; Editing by Joseph