* Federal Open Market Committee's meeting to end on
* Oil prices to draw support from recent strong economic
* Coming Up: U.S. non-farm payrolls report on Friday
By Jessica Jaganathan
SINGAPORE, Jan 28 Brent crude held steady above
$113 per barrel on Monday ahead of a U.S. Federal Reserve policy
meeting and key employment data due later this week that will be
scoured for further signs of recovery in the world's biggest oil
The Fed, whose policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee
concludes a two-day meeting on Wednesday, said just last month
that it expects to keep short-term interest rates exceptionally
low until the unemployment rate falls to 6.5 percent, inflation
But Friday's non-farm payroll figures are likely to show the
jobless rate was unchanged in January at 7.8 percent, while the
economy created 155,000 jobs, the same as in December, according
to economists polled by Reuters.
"Participants are waiting to see results of these two events
and it is unlikely that there will be big movements in oil
prices today," said Ken Hasegawa, a commodities sales manager at
"If these two events show positive results, then it's
possible for WTI to touch $100 a barrel on Friday but if the
results are worse than expected, the downside is limited to the
$94 a barrel range."
He added that Brent oil prices might trade within the $112
to $117 a barrel range this week.
Brent slipped 9 cents to $113.19 a barrel by 0349
GMT. U.S. crude rose 7 cents to $95.95 after seven
straight weekly gains - longest such streak since early 2009.
"Technically, I think (oil prices) are on the way to the
upside," Hasegawa said, citing recent strong economic data that
points towards a global recovery.
Manufacturing in China and the United States grew this month
at the quickest pace in about two years while German business
morale improved for a third straight month in January,
increasing optimism about the state of the world economy and
fuelling hopes that demand for oil will go up.
Also, banks will repay more than 130 billion euros of crisis
loans to the European Central Bank next week, handing more cash
back earlier than expected in a sign at least parts of the
financial system are returning to health.
MIDDLE EAST TENSION SUPPORTS
Tensions in the oil-producing Middle East remained, also
supporting oil prices.
Iran would consider any attack on Syria an attack on itself,
a senior government official was quoted as saying on Saturday,
in one of Tehran's most assertive defences of its ally yet. Iran
is a key supporter of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad who is
fighting a near two-year-long revolt.
Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi declared a month-long state
of emergency in three cities along the Suez Canal where dozens
of people have been killed over the past four days in protests
his allies say are designed to overthrow him.
U.N. Security Council envoys flew to Yemen amid tight
security on Sunday to show support for a U.S.-backed power
transfer deal in danger of faltering and plunging the country
back into chaos.
(Editing by Himani Sarkar)