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Oil Rises as Iran Nuclear Talks Make Progress

Oil futures bounced Friday, but remained on track for weekly losses as investors pointed to signs of progress toward a restoration of the Iran nuclear deal, which could eventually push more supplies onto the crude market.

West Texas Intermediate crude for July delivery was up $1.12, or 1.7%, on the New York Mercantile Exchange. July Brent crude the global benchmark, advanced $1.11, or 1.7%, to $66.22 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe. WTI was on track for a weekly fall of 3.4%, while Brent was down 3.9%.

A “general correction” in previously highflying commodity prices in recent days is one key reason for the weakness in crude, said Carsten Fritsch, analyst at Commerzbank, in a note.

“Furthermore, the possible return of Iranian oil exports is weighing on prices. The talks that are currently under way to revive the 2015 international nuclear agreement (JCPOA) are apparently making good progress,” he said.

The European Union diplomat shepherding negotiations over the deal expressed confidence that an agreement would be reached as the latest round of discussions concluded earlier this week. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Thursday said the U.S. was ready to lift sanctions, though there was no confirmation from the U.S. Rouhani was contradicted by a senior Iranian official, according to Reuters.

“If the oil sanctions imposed on Iran were indeed to be lifted, up to 2 million barrels of additional crude oil per day could flood the market,” Fritsch said.

He noted that Iran exported 2.2 million barrels of crude oil per day on average between April 2016 and July 2018, before the U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA and the subsequent reinstatement of sanctions by the Trump administration caused Iranian oil exports to decline to just a few hundred thousand barrels per day.

Additional Iranian oil exports would roughly equal the supply deficit projected by the International Energy Agency in the fourth quarter, he said. As a result, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies would have no need to further expand output to prevent a tightening of the market.

Source: Marketwatch

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