LONDON -Oil prices were on course for a third day of losses on Thursday after diplomats said progress was made towards a deal to lift sanctions on Iran, which could boost crude supply.

Oil falls with possible return of Iranian supply- oil and gas 360

Source: Reuters

Retracing some earlier losses, Brent crude was down 39 cents, or 0.5%, at $66.27 a barrel by 1320 GMT. West Texas Intermediate U.S. oil lost 23 cents, or 0.3%, to $63.13 a barrel. Both contracts fell around 3% in the previous session.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a televised speech on Thursday that sanctions on oil, shipping, petrochemicals, insurance and the central bank had been dealt with in the talks.

But European diplomats said success was not guaranteed and very difficult issues remained, while a senior Iranian official contradicted the president.

Indian refiners and at least one European refiner are re-evaluating their crude purchases to make room for Iranian oil in the second half of this year, anticipating that U.S. sanctions will be lifted, company officials and trading sources said.

“With global oil demand growth projected to be healthy for the balance of this year and in 2022 the (OPEC+) producer group is in a relatively comfortable position to deal with increasing Iranian output without undermining the oil rebalancing,” PVM analysts said.

Concerns about the demand outlook in Asia also dragged prices down. Almost two-thirds of people tested in India show exposure to the coronavirus.

Speculation that the U.S. Federal Reserve might at some point start to tighten policy weighed on the outlook for economic growth and has prompted some investors to reduce exposure to oil and other commodities.

Supporting prices in early trading, crude inventories in the United States increased by 1.3 million barrels last week, against analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a 1.6 million-barrel rise. [EIA/S]

Gasoline stocks were down by 2 million barrels, compared with predictions of an 886,000-barrel fall.​ Gasoline product supplied, a measure of demand, rose 5% to 9.2 million barrels per day, though this included follow-on demand from the Colonial Pipeline shutdown.

“What tickles our attention is the rapid revival of U.S. oil product demand now being very close to the 2019 (level),” SEB analysts said in a note.

Swiss bank UBS said it expected oil inventories to fall to pre-COVID-19 levels by midyear with an oil price of $75 a barrel in the second half.


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