March 30, 2011 / 12:38 AM / 9 years ago

NYMEX-Oil eases ahead of US crude inventory data

* US crude stocks expected to rise by 1.8 mln bbls

* Gaddafi forces reverse rebels’ advance

* US dollar up on speculation Fed may trim bond buying

* COMING UP: EIA inventory data, 1430 GMT

SINGAPORE, March 30 (Reuters) - U.S. oil prices eased on Wednesday as an expected rise in U.S. domestic crude stocks offset support from unrest in Libya and the Middle East.

FUNDAMENTALS

* NYMEX crude for May CLc1 slipped 27 cents to $104.52 a barrel by 0001 GMT, erasing some of the gains in the previous session.

* Ahead of Wednesday’s data by the Energy Information Administration, a Reuters survey of analysts estimated U.S. crude stocks would increase by 1.8 million barrels, with gasoline down 1.9 million and distillate inventories down 600,000 barrels.

* The American Petroleum Institute said U.S. crude stockpiles rose a larger-than-expected 5.7 million barrels last week.

* Muammar Gaddafi’s better armed and organised troops reversed the rapid westward advance of rebels as world powers meeting in London piled pressure on the Libyan leader to step down. [ID:nLDE72S033]

* In Syria, President Bashar al-Assad sought to deflect the greatest challenge to his 11-year rule by mobilising tens of thousands of Syrians in mass rallies across the country in response to pro-democracy protests.

* Saudi Arabia’s plans to expand its drilling rig count by 28 percent signal a rush to deliver the 12.5 million barrels a day of capacity that Riyadh has long claimed is in place. [ID:nN28209969]

MARKET NEWS

* The U.S. dollar rose on speculation the Federal Reserve might curtail a programme aimed at keeping interest rates low.

* U.S. consumers turned gloomy in March as rising energy prices ignited fears of inflation, a change in mood that could dent economic growth. [ID:nN29268691]

* U.S. home prices fell for a seventh straight month in January but held above their post-housing bust low of April 2009.

* Debt-stricken Greece and Portugal suffered new blows after Standard & Poor’s downgraded their credit ratings on possible risk to bondholders, sending their borrowing costs sharply higher. [ID:nLDE72S1LY]

DATA/EVENTS (GMT)

0300 Japan PAJ weekly oil inventory data Mar 26 0900 EZ Business climate Mar 2011 0900 EZ Economic sentiment Mar 2011 1430 U.S. EIA petroleum stocks Weekly 2301 S.Korea Industrial output yy Pre Feb 2011 2315 Japan Manufacturing PMI Mar 2011 (Reporting by Randy Fabi; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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