Oil prices mixed in Asian trade fol­low­ing US energy re­port

The China Post - - BUSINESS INDEX & -

Oil prices were mixed in Asia on Thurs­day fol­low­ing a bear­ish U.S. energy re­port, while talks over crude pro­ducer Iran’s nu­clear pro­gram dragged on, an­a­lysts said.

U.S. bench­mark West Texas In­ter­me­di­ate for Au­gust de­liv­ery fell nine cents to US$60.18 while Brent gained one cent to US$63.50 in af­ter­noon trade.

Sanjeev Gupta, head of the Asia-Pa­cific oil and gas prac­tice at busi­ness con­sul­tancy EY, said oil prices came un­der pres­sure af­ter the U.S. Depart­ment of Energy’s weekly petroleum re­port.

It showed do­mes­tic crude out­put edged up to a record 9.6 mil­lion bar­rels a day in the week to June 19. Crude stock­piles, though down 4.9 mil­lion bar­rels in the week, were still at a near-record 463 mil­lion bar­rels.

The data damp­ened hopes in some quar­ters that the U.S. oil in­dus­try was cut­ting back on out­put in the face of low prices as the coun­try en­ters the sum­mer hol­i­day driv­ing sea­son.

Gupta said deal­ers are also ex­pect­ing an “ex­ten­sion of the Iran nu­clear talks,” which could see Iran re­turn to the world stage as an im­por­tant oil pro­ducer.

How­ever, it “seems in­creas­ingly likely as the par­ties in­volved sig­naled doubt about be­ing able to re­solve all the is­sues by the 30 June dead­line,” added Gupta.

Six global pow­ers are try­ing to nail down a deal to curb Iran’s nu­clear am­bi­tions by re­duc­ing its stock­piles of en­riched ura­nium and moth­balling some of its sites.

If the agree­ment is im­ple­mented, the pow­ers have agreed to grad­u­ally scale back sanc­tions im­posed since 2012, in­clud­ing on its petroleum in­dus­try.

Iran has the world’s fourth-largest oil re­serves but its ex­ports have fallen from more than 2.2 mil­lion bar­rels per day in 2011 to about 1.3 mil­lion be­cause of the sanc­tions.

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