Oil soars as Iranian nuclear talks drag on
By Florence Tan
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Oil prices rose on Monday, supported by strong demand during the summer driving season and a pause in talks to relaunch the Iran nuclear deal that could indicate a delay in resuming supplies to the OPEC producer.
Brent crude futures for August rose 30 cents, or 0.4%, to $ 73.81 a barrel at 12:51 a.m. GMT, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for July was at 71.96 $ a barrel, up 32 cents, or 0.5%.
Both benchmarks have gained over the past four weeks amid optimism about the pace of global vaccinations and a resumption of summer travel. The rebound has already pushed crude spot premiums in Asia and Europe to multi-month highs.
“The rebound in demand in the northern hemisphere summer is so strong that the market is increasingly concerned about further sharp declines in inventories,” ANZ analysts said in a note.
Negotiations to relaunch the Iranian nuclear deal came to a standstill on Sunday after radical judge Ebrahim Raisi won the Iranian presidential election amid low turnout on Saturday. Two diplomats said they expected a break of around 10 days.
ANZ said the elections could delay the nuclear deal.
“The possibility of Iranian oil hitting the market in the short term seems unlikely,” the bank said, adding that Iran insists that US sanctions imposed on Raisi be lifted before a deal is reached.
(Reporting by Florence Tan; Editing by Himani Sarkar)