* Iranian media reports Saudi oil pipeline fire
* Saudi officials say report untrue - CNBC
* Coming up: CFTC positions data 3:30 p.m. EST Friday
NEW YORK, March 1 (Reuters) - U.S. crude futures rose sharply on Thursday and global benchmark Brent crude jumped to its highest intraday price since 2008 after a report out of Iran of a pipeline fire in Saudi Arabia.
Iranian media reported an explosion on an unknown oil pipeline in the oil-rich Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, although the report was not verified.
Prices pulled back after Dow Jones newswires reported a Saudi oil official said the report was untrue, according to CNBC television.
Ahead of that flurry of activity, crude futures on both sides of the Atlantic had been lifted by supportive economic data from China and the United States and the ongoing concerns about supply disruptions and tensions with Iran.
* On the New York Mercantile Exchange, (month) crude rose $1.77, or 1.65 percent, to settle at $108.84 a barrel, before rising to $110.55 in post-settlement trading, the highest since May 2011.
* U.S. crude ended post-settlement trading on the Globex electronic platform up $1.53 at $108.60 a barrel.
* Israel took the unusual precaution of announcing that it would soon test-fire a ballistic interceptor missile, hoping to avoid stoking war tensions with Iran.
* China's factory output grew more than expected in February as new export orders for big firms bounced back, a government survey showed, while a private-sector report portrayed a different picture of smaller companies lagging behind the rebound.
* Inventories of gas oil in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp hub fell very marginally over the past week, with the pace of stock drawdown slowing down at the end of winter in Europe, Dutch oil analyst Pieter Kulsen said.
* Mild weather in February led to broad sales gains at top U.S. chains, and even laggard Gap Inc posted its first increase in eight months.
* U.S. initial jobless claims fell last week but consumer spending was flat in January for the third straight month after accounting for inflation, fueling doubts about the economic outlook.
* Major automakers including General Motors Co posted a rise in auto sales for the month of February, helped by American drivers' need to replace aging cars and trucks despite the rise in fuel prices.
* Western trade sanctions against Iran are impeding its oil exports even before they go into effect, a U.S. advisory body has found.
* Seaborne oil exports from OPEC, excluding Angola and Ecuador, will rise by 10,000 barrels per day in the four weeks to March 17, UK consultancy Oil Movements said in its latest weekly estimate.
* Oil price reporting by industry media could be regulated in an attempt to prevent market manipulation and increase transparency for the world's biggest traded commodity, global regulator group the International Organisation of Securities Commissions said.
* Copper rose more than 1 percent, recouping some of the previous day's losses, as data indicated top metals consumer China will avoid a sharp economic slowdown to boost risk appetite and overshadow concerns over Europe's debt crisis.
* U.S. stocks rose, moving back to 2008 highs, after a jump in bank shares and further upbeat data on the labor market, though sharp gains in oil prices limited the advance.
* Gold rose 1.5 percent, rebounding above $1,700 an ounce as the previous session's 5 percent drop induced investors to buy at lower prices on hopes the tumble was a correction rather than the start of a bear market.
* The euro fell to its lowest level in a week against the dollar as U.S. data showed the economy lost steam earlier this year but remained in better shape than the euro zone.
* U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission positions data due at 3:30 p.m. EST (2030 GMT) on Friday.
SETTLE NET PCT LOW HIGH CURRENT DAY AGO
CHNG CHNG VOL VOL CLc1 108.84 1.77 1.7% 106.55 110.55 370,408 353,125 CLc2 109.27 1.75 1.6% 107.01 110.95 102,491 88,332 LCOc1 126.20 3.54 2.9% 122.49 128.40 253,334 243,681 RBc1 3.3517 0.0945 2.9% 3.2550 3.3868 52,353 5,937 RBc2 3.3425 0.0918 2.8% 3.2486 3.3762 34,809 54,983 HOc1 3.2753 0.0694 2.2% 3.1888 3.3165 76,203 7,684 HOc2 3.2733 0.0720 2.3% 3.1910 3.3135 42,372 90,271
TOTAL MARKET VOLUME OPEN INTEREST
CURRENT Feb 29 30D AVG Feb 29 NET CHNG CRUDE 821,499 686,720 679,788 1,543,447 -25,614 RBOB 160,170 139,389 148,872 352,731 -3,822 HO 200,443 211,405 157,784 287,301 -14,441 (Reporting By Robert Gibbons and Gene Ramos)