NYMEX-Crude slips on Libya oil hope, eyes oil data

 * Libya rebels hope they can restart oil sales soon
 * Fed official talks tighter policy, supports dollar
 * Coming up: API oil inventory data, 4:30 p.m. EDT Tuesday
 NEW YORK, March 29 (Reuters) - U.S. crude oil futures prices fell on
Tuesday on continuing hopes that Libya's rebels may soon be able to restart
some oil exports and on the prospect that the U.S. central bank may pull
back from loose monetary policy.
 "The complex maintained a downward course that began last Friday with
the market responding at least partially to expectations that Libyan oil
exports could be resumed to at least some degree as opposition forces take
control of some key oil ports," Jim Ritterbusch, president at Ritterbusch &
Associates, said in a research note.
 Ritterbusch cautioned that he sees, "such a development as heavily
challenged by operational, legal and various logistical issues," but he
noted a, "shift in market psychology that is forcing some liquidation out
of the oil market."
 U.S. policymakers may not be willing or able to wait for all global
uncertainties to be resolved before they begin normalizing loose monetary
policy, St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard said on Tuesday.
[ID:nLDE72S179]
 A change in central bank policy, whether a curb of the most recent
quantitative easing stimulus or a rise in interest rates, is expected to
lower liquidity in financial markets and possibly curb economic growth and
oil demand.
 Tuesday's crude oil price slip came ahead of weekly oil inventory
reports expected to show crude stocks rose last week, while refined
products stockpiles slipped. [EIA/S]
 FUNDAMENTALS
 * On the New York Mercantile Exchange, May crude (CLK1: Quote, Profile, Research) fell 81 cents,
or 0.8 percent, to $103.17 a barrel by 8:53 a.m. EDT (1253 GMT), trading
from $102.70 to $104.
 * Muammar Gaddafi's better armed and organized troops reversed the
westward charge of Libyan rebels as world powers gathered to discuss a
post-Gaddafi future. [ID:nLDE72S033]
 * Europe's prospects of receiving Libyan oil shipments would be weeks
away even if rebels were quickly removed from the international sanctions
list, as big buyers say shipping and legal risks remain a concern.
[ID:nLDE72R1X7]
 * Saudi Arabia plans to boost oil rigs by 28 percent. Two Saudi
officials told Reuters that the extra rigs would maintain rather than
increase capacity. [ID:nN28209969]
 * Plutonium found in soil at the Fukushima nuclear complex heightened
alarm over Japan's battle against the world's worst nuclear power crisis in
25 years, as pressure mounted on the prime minister to widen an evacuation
zone. [ID:nL3E7ET0PZ]
 * Yemeni protesters demanding the ouster of President Ali Abdullah
Saleh said they would insist he leave power soon. [ID:nLDE72S111]
 * Tens of thousands of Syrians held pro-government rallies as President
Bashar al-Assad was expected to address the nation after two weeks of
democracy protests. [ID:nLDE72S0K2]
 * Saudi Arabia is printing 1.5 million copies of an edict by religious
scholars outlawing protests in the kingdom as un-Islamic, the state news
agency said. [ID:nLDE72S097]
 MARKETS NEWS
 * U.S. stock index futures were flat near the quarter's end as
investors took a wait-and-see stance, unsure of the impact of global
crises. [ID:nN29244188]
 * Concerns about Italian banks dragged European stocks lower,
undermining global gains, while earlier euro strength dissipated.
[MKTS/GLOB]
 * The euro struggled to hold gains against the dollar, as expectations
for a euro zone interest rate rise were offset by a Federal Reserve warning
about keeping U.S. monetary policy loose for too long. [USD/] The dollar
index (.DXY: Quote, Profile, Research) was up.
 * Copper fell on concerns over high inventories and slack demand from
top consumer China, exacerbated by talk of further monetary tightening
there. [MET/L]
 * Gold eased in Europe as expectations that interest rates may rise in
key countries reduced interest in the no-yield precious metal. [GOL/]
 UPCOMING DATA/EVENTS
 * The Conference Board releases its March index of U.S. consumer
confidence at 1000 EDT (1400 GMT). Analysts polled by Reuters expect a
reading of 65, down from February's 70.4.
 * American Petroleum Institute weekly oil inventory data at 4:30 p.m.
EDT (2030 GMT) on Tuesday.
 * U.S. Energy Information Administration weekly oil inventory data at
10:30 a.m. EDT (1430 GMT) on Wednesday.
8:53     LAST     NET    PCT     LOW    HIGH  CURRENT  DAY AGO
              CHNG   CHNG                      VOL      VOL
CLc1   103.17   -0.81  -0.8%  102.70  104.00   40,935  235,658
CLc2   103.75   -0.81  -0.8%  103.22  104.50    9,754   65,355
LCOc1  114.22   -0.58  -0.5%  113.52  114.80   57,069  138,658
RBc1   3.0198 -0.0076  -0.3%  3.0107  3.0339    1,517   18,545
RBc2   3.0205 -0.0071  -0.2%  3.0071  3.0335    3,785   35,395
HOc1   3.0178 -0.0071  -0.2%  3.0036  3.0276    1,301   19,756
HOc2   3.0342 -0.0070  -0.2%  3.0183  3.0437    4,821   40,088
 * NYMEX crude oil for May (CLc1: Quote, Profile, Research) fell 81 cents to $103.17 a barrel by 8:53
a.m. in volume of 40,935 lots.
 (Reporting by Robert Gibbons; Editing by John Picinich)


NYMEX-Crude slips on Libya oil hope, eyes oil data