SINGAPORE, July 17 (Reuters) - U.S. crude futures slipped in early Asian trade on Wednesday as investors were reluctant to lock in fresh positions ahead of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's two-day congressional testimony.
Oil markets will focus on the dollar, which fell overnight, boosting commodities, on worries Bernanke may indicate the Fed will continue its economic stimulus for longer than expected.
U.S. crude fell 21 cents to $105.79 a barrel by 0029 GMT, extending losses after settling 32 cents lower. Brent slipped 20 cents to $107.94 after ending 31 cents higher.
- U.S. crude stocks fell last week as refineries raised output, data from industry group the American Petroleum Institute showed. Crude inventories fell by 2.6 million barrels to 371.056 million, compared with analysts' expectations for a decline of 2 million barrels.
- The Federal Reserve should start cutting its massive bond-buying program in September and bring it to an end in the first half of next year, the hawkish president of the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank said on Tuesday.
- World powers expressed hope on Tuesday of resuming negotiations with Iran over its disputed nuclear programme "as soon as possible" but gave no indication of a possible date for any new talks.
- Armed protesters stormed the eastern Libyan oil port of Zueitina on Tuesday demanding export operations be halted, a witness said, hours after workers temporarily suspended a strike and resumed production at oilfields that pump to the terminal.
- Egypt's interim government sets about the mammoth task of returning the country to civilian rule and rescuing the economy on Wednesday, a process complicated by deadly protests and a political stalemate with powerful Islamist groups.
- The S&P 500 snapped its eight-day winning streak on Tuesday after disappointing sales from Coca-Cola, while investors turned cautious a day before the Federal Reserve chairman's congressional testimony.
- The dollar stayed on the defensive in early Asian trade on Wednesday as investors suffered a case of cold feet ahead of Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke's semi-annual testimony in Congress later in the day.
The following data is expected on Wednesday:
- 0200 China Foreign direct investment
- 1230 U.S. Building permits
- 1230 U.S. Housing starts
- 1400 Fed Chairman's testimony before Congress committee
- 1430 U.S. EIA weekly crude stocks
- 1800 U.S. Federal Reserve Beige Book (Reporting by Manash Goswami; Editing by Richard Pullin)