NYMEX-Crude up on Iran supply worries, weak dollar
* Consumer prices rise sharply, gasoline biggest factor
* Asian buyers of Iran oil seek exception on EU ban rule
* Speculators raise NYMEX crude oil positions-CFTC
* Coming up: API weekly petroleum stocks data, Tuesday
NEW YORK, March 16 (Reuters) - U.S. crude oil futures rose on Friday, as worries of supply disruption from Iran resurfaced and the dollar weakened, enticing investors to raise their bets on the commodity.
U.S. inflationary pressures appeared contained, data on consumer prices showed, causing the dollar to pause from a rally as investors now expect lower odds that the U.S. Federal Reserve would tighten monetary policy anytime soon.
While gasoline prices rose sharply last month, consumers did not expect the run-up to last very long, the weekly Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer survey showed.
The potential impact of the loss of Iranian oil when the slated European Union ban of Iranian oil comes into effect in July again pushed risk premium on oil higher, traders said.
This time, the focus is on Asian oil importers, who are lobbying for exceptions from the EU embargo to insure deliveries of Iranian oil shipments.
The importers are asking they be exempted from a provision in EU embargo that specified a ban EU insurers and reinsurers from indemnifying vessels carrying Iranian crude and fuel anywhere in the world.
Oil futures slightly pared gains in morning trading as the recent surge in Saudi Arabia's oil shipments to the United States looked set to continue, according to tanker industry sources and U.S. government data.
Prices fell on Thursday on news that Britain would cooperate with the United States in releasing strategic oil reserves later this year, according to British sources, in a bid to prevent fuel prices choking economic growth in a U.S. election year.
For a wrapup of Friday's U.S. economic data, see
* On the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude for April delivery rose $1.95, or 1.86 percent, to settle at $107.06 a barrel. For the week, it fell 34 cents, or 0.32 percent after gaining in the week to March 9 at $107.40.
* In London, ICE Brent crude for May delivery, the new front-month, settled at $125.81 a barrel, gaining $3.21, or 2.62 percent. For the week, it fell 17 cents, or 0.13 percent, after rising in the week to March 9 to $125.98.
* May Brent crude's premium against U.S. May crude widened to $18.23, after falling to $16.95 on Thursday. April Brent expired on Thursday and posted a premium of $18.44 against U.S. April crude that day. CL-LCO1=R
* NYMEX April RBOB settled at $3.3569 a gallon, up 6.84 cents, or 2.08 percent. For the week, the contract rose 2.45 cents, or 0.74 percent, from the $3.3324 close on March 9, extending weekly gains to a sixth in a row.
* NYMEX April heating oil closed at $3.2819 a gallon, gaining 5.94 cents, or 1.84 percent. For the week, the contract edged up 1.81 cents, or 0.55 percent, from the $3.2638 settlement on March 9, rising for a second straight weeks.
* Hedge funds and other large investors raised their net long positions on U.S. crude futures and options in the week to March 13 by 8.348 contracts, to 280,448, as prices rose $2 to $106.71 on Iran oil supply concerns. The latest data followed a cut in crude oil positions in the week to March 6, which was the first decline in five weeks.
* The U.S. Consumer Price Index rose 0.4 percent in February, the most in 10 months, after rising 0.2 percent in January. More than 80 percent of the rise was due to gasoline's price spike.
* Outside the volatile food and energy sectors, inflation pressures were generally contained as the core CPI edged up 0.1 percent after gaining 0.2 percent in January.
* Gasoline prices rose 20 cents, or 6 percent last month, the biggest rise since December 2010. That caused the consumer sentiment index in the weekly Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan survey to dip to 74.3 early this month from 75.3 in February.
* Production in U.S. mines, factories and utilities held steady in February after an upwardly revised gain of 0.4 percent in January, data from the Federal Reserve.
* Saudi Arabia's shipments of oil to the United States hit 1.5 million barrels per day in the first 10 weeks of 2012, rising 300,000 bpd from the fourth quarter of 2011, the largest rise in shipments from the kingdom since the second quarter of 2003, provisional data from the Energy Information Administration showed.
* Vela, Saudi Arabia's state oil tanker company, has booked at least nine very large crude carriers (VLCCs) capable of carrying 2 million barrels of crude each from the Middle East Gulf to the U.S. Gulf since the start of March, the biggest such wave of fixtures in years, analysts said.
* The U.S. dollar fell as tame U.S. inflation data prompted a rethinking of expectations of higher interest rates.
* The Standard & Poor's 500 Index wrapped up its best week in three months as investors continued to push equities to near four-year highs.[.N}
* Copper slipped, losing grip on two-week highs as investors weighed an improving global economy against more signs of sluggish demand in China, which accounts for nearly 40 percent of copper consumption.
* Gold was little changed on the day, but posted its second-biggest weekly decline this year as prices dropped early in the week after the Federal Reserve withheld any additional monetary easing following a string of encouraging U.S. economic data.
* Chicago (Midwest) business index for Jan., 8:30 a.m. (1230 GMT), Monday
SETTLE NET PCT LOW HIGH CURRENT DAY AGO
CHNG CHNG VOL VOL CLc1 107.06 1.95 1.9% 105.13 107.34 180,635 371,039 CLc2 107.58 1.93 1.8% 105.65 107.85 141,427 159,828 LCOc1 125.81 3.21 2.6% 122.45 126.15 154,908 20,330 RBc1 3.3569 0.0684 2.1% 3.2839 3.3660 37,628 52,897 RBc2 3.3535 0.0693 2.1% 3.2815 3.3620 35,697 46,887 HOc1 3.2819 0.0594 1.8% 3.2193 3.2902 36,389 60,503 HOc2 3.2910 0.0620 1.9% 3.2268 3.2989 23,351 29,106
TOTAL MARKET VOLUME OPEN INTEREST
CURRENT Mar 15 30D AVG Mar 15 NET CHNG CRUDE 525,926 832,565 713,066 1,559,075 10,862 RBOB 115,357 181,405 140,803 389,135 5,040 HO 88,735 131,919 148,817 281,881 961
(Reporting by Gene Ramos and Robert Gibbons; Editing by Marguerita Choy)
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