SINGAPORE Jan 2 U.S. crude futures edged down
toward $91 on Wednesday as investors nervously await a
last-minute deal from the United States to stave off rising
taxes and spending cuts that could trigger a recession and erode
its fuel demand.
* U.S. crude for February delivery edged down 10
cents to $91.72 a barrel by 2348 GMT after gaining $1.02 on Dec.
31 to close at its highest since October. Front-month prices
fell 7 percent in 2012 from the previous year pressured by
surging production in the United States - which hit a 19-year
high this year - and Canada.
* Brent crude settled at $111.11 a barrel on Monday,
up for the fourth straight year in 2012 after geopolitical
threats to production offset worries about flagging oil demand.
Brent closed the year averaging over $111 a barrel, the highest
annual average on record.
* Speculators raised their net long positions in Brent crude
oil futures and options for a second week running, data
published by the IntercontinentalExchange showed on Monday.
* Colombia reached its oil production goal of 1 million
barrels a day as increased pumping in its southeast boosted
output even as attacks by rebel groups caused problems for oil
companies during the year.
* Government war planes bombed opposition-held areas of
Syria and President Bashar al-Assad's forces and rebels fought
on the outskirts of the capital Damascus on New Year's Day on
* At least 23 people were killed and 87 wounded in attacks
across Iraq on Monday, police said, underlining sectarian and
ethnic divisions that threaten to further destabilise the
country a year after U.S. troops left.
* The leaders of Sudan and South Sudan will meet on Friday
to discuss how to improve border security and resume vital oil
flows, both sides said on Tuesday as the feuding African
neighbours signalled possible concessions.
* Last-minute efforts to step back from the "fiscal cliff"
ran into trouble on Tuesday as Republicans in the House of
Representatives balked at a deal that would prevent Washington
from pushing the world's biggest economy into a recession.
* China's official manufacturing purchasing managers' index
held steady in December at 50.6, matching November's seven-month
high, as growth in new orders was unchanged and the pace of
output softened marginally.
* Markets were eerily quiet in Asia as trade resumed on
Wednesday with investors anxiously waiting to see if the U.S.
Congress could strike a last-minute deal to avoid triggering tax
rises and spending cuts.
* The following data is expected on Wednesday:
0500 GMT India Dec HSBC Markit Mfg
0843 GMT Italy Dec Markit/ADACI Mfg PMI
0853 GMT Germany Dec Markit/BME Mfg PMI
0858 GMT Euro zone Dec Markit Mfg PMI
1500 GMT U.S. Dec ISM Manufacturing PMI
1500 U.S. Nov Construction spending
(Reporting by Florence Tan; Editing by Himani Sarkar)