TOKYO, March 3 (Reuters) - U.S. crude futures stood steady on Wednesday near $80 a barrel after a larger-than-expected build in U.S. crude inventories and a greater-than-forecast drawdown in distillates.
* NYMEX crude for April delivery was unchanged at $79.68 a barrel by 0000 GMT, after settling up 98 cents a day earlier helped by a weaker dollar and an improved outlook for Greece's debt problems that lifted economic optimism.
Oil hit $80.95 on Tuesday, the highest since Jan. 12.
* The American Petroleum Institute (API) said after Tuesday's settlement that crude stocks rose 2.7 million barrels last week, distillate stocks were down 4.1 million barrels and gasoline stocks gained 909,000 barrels. [ID:nN02187860]
A Reuters poll had forecast that crude inventories rose 1.4 million barrels, gasoline stocks rose 600,000 barrels and distillates fell 900,000 barrels. [EIA/S]
* OPEC meets next on March 17 and ministers are already suggesting there will be no change to current output quotas. [ID:nLDE61P1NL]
"Despite the fact the global economy is gradually recovering, demand has not increased significantly enough to make us reconsider our production ceiling," Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani told Reuters. [ID:nLDE6211V0]
* U.S. stocks ended slightly higher on Tuesday as mergers and acquisitions supported selected sectors, but investors pulled back from recent gains in some big-cap technology and bank shares.
* The euro rebounded from a 9-1/2-month low against the dollar on Tuesday as investors awaited new plans to address Greece's debt crisis and held out hope for some form of help from the European Union. [USD/]
* The following data is expected on Wednesday:
- 0858 GMT--Euro Zone Markit Services PMI/Feb
- 1200 GMT--U.S. MBA Purchase Index/Weekly
- 1230 GMT--U.S. Challenger Layoffs/Feb
- 1500 GMT--U.S. ISM N-Mfg Bus Act/Feb
- 1530 GMT--U.S. EIA Petroleum Report/Wkly
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PRICES Oil prices as of 0000 GMT Contract Mnth Price Change Day ago pct MA-20* NYMEX Contracts US Crude APR0 $79.68 +0.00 +$0.98 +1.25% $76.83 Heat Oil APR0 206.31 +0.70 +3.26 +1.61% 199.41 RBOB APR0 219.61 -0.05 +4.10 +1.90% 202.04 Natgas APR0 $4.730 +0.022 +$0.029 +0.62% $5.151 ICE Contracts Brent APR0 -- +0.00 +$1.29 +1.68% $75.09 Gasoil MAR0 -- +0.00 +$4.25 +0.67% $606.48 Note: U.S. heating oil and RBOB gasoline contracts listed in cents per gallon. * = 20-day moving average for continuation month. (Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)