May 2, 2012 / 1:25 AM / 7 years ago

NYMEX-Crude steady near $106; U.S. data supports

SINGAPORE, May 2 (Reuters) - U.S. crude futures held steady near $106 on Wednesday, after sharp gains a day earlier on faster-than-expected manufacturing growth in the United States, the world’s top oil consumer.

FUNDAMENTALS

* On the New York Mercantile Exchange, the front-month contract for June delivery was down 27 cents at $105.89 by 0048 GMT. On Tuesday, the contract settled 1.29 higher, or 1.23 percent, at $106.16 a barrel - the highest settlement since March 27.

* In London, ICE Brent for June delivery slipped 7 cents to $119.59 a barrel, after settling up 19 cents at $119.66 on Tuesday.

* U.S. manufacturing growth in April hit the highest in 10 months, boosting the demand outlook for oil after recent data showed the economy had lost steam.

The closely watched index of national factory activity from the private Institute for Supply Management rose to 54.8 from 53.4 in March, beating expectations for a decline to 53.0.

* Markets are now awaiting China’s HSBC final PMI reading for April. The HSBC Flash PMI, the earliest indicator of China’s industrial activity, recovered slightly to 49.1 in April from a final reading of 48.3 in March.

It was the strongest flash, or preliminary, readout for four months, and if confirmed would also mark a four-month peak for the final reading.

* U.S. gasoline demand fell last week by 5.6 percent from the same week a year ago, even as pump prices declined, MasterCard’s weekly SpendingPulse data showed.

* Exxon Mobil Corp said there was no change in the status of the North Line pipeline but expects the South Line portion of the HLS (Heavy Louisiana Sweet) pipeline to restart operations this week.

* BP Plc plans to return its 225,000 bpd Cherry Point refinery in Ferndale, Washington, to full service this month after repairing units damaged.

* U.S. crude oil stocks rose 2 million barrels last week, the industry group American Petroleum Institute (API) said, less than expected. Gasoline stocks fell 3.9 million barrels and distillate stocks fell 4.2 million barrels.

* Ahead of weekly inventory reports, a rise of 2.5 million barrels for crude, a sixth consecutive build, was forecast in a Reuters survey of analysts.

MARKETS NEWS

* The Dow closed at its highest level in more than four years on Tuesday after U.S. manufacturing expanded at a faster pace than expected in April, easing jitters about a slowdown in the economic recovery.

* The dollar held gains on the yen Wednesday having bounced from 2-1/2-month lows after upbeat U.S. manufacturing data soothed fears the economy was slowing, while Asia waited for the latest update on Chinese industry.

DATA/EVENTS

* The following events are expected this week

0230 China HSBC Mfg PMI Final April

0500 India HSBC Markit Mfg PMI April

1430 U.S. EIA petroleum status report Weekly (Reporting by Francis Kan; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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