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Oil Prices Pull Back on Signs of Progress in U.S-Iran Nuclear Talks

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Global oil prices pulled back from their record highs on Monday as concerns over tight supplies wane on the back of continuous progress in the U.S-Iran nuclear talks.

Donald Trump’s administration had canceled the nuclear deal that took six world’s leading nations twelve years to sign with Iran, claiming it was a poor deal that gave the middle east nation too much power, Investors King reported in 2018. He blamed the Obama administration for the poor deal and proceeded to cancel it despite global outcry.

Biden administration has now restored sanctions waiver to Iran and commenced discussion on US concerns about the old deal and how it can be amended to suit the two nations, said a senior State Department official.

The ongoing talks, if materalised, will increase global crude oil supply as Iran could ramp up production to about 4 million barrels per day.

“The lifting of some sanctions can, in the true sense of the word, translate into their goodwill. Americans talk about it, but it should be known that what happens on paper is good but not enough,” Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said, quoted by ISNA news agency.

Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, fell by 1 percent to $92.31 per barrel at 12:pm Nigerian time on Monday after rising to $94 last week, its highest since October 2014. U.S. West Texas Intermediate declined by 1.4 percent to $91 a barrel.

Global investors, however, do not expect US-Iran to reach an agreement anytime soon. In fact, they are brazing up for market volatility amid uncertainty ahead.

“Investors expect more twists and turns in the U.S.-Iranian talks and no agreement to be reached anytime soon,” said Kazuhiko Saito, chief analyst at Fujitomi Securities Co Ltd.

Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch said: “If the oil sanctions were also to be relaxed, this could help ease the oil market.”

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Crude Oil

Libyan Oil Field and Gas Link to Italy Reopen After Protesters Withdraw

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Following a brief interruption, operations at an oil field in western Libya and a natural gas link to Italy have resumed as protesters retreated from the facilities.

The demonstrators withdrew after receiving assurances from the government regarding their demands.

The Wafa oil field, which typically produces between 40,000 to 45,000 barrels per day, recommenced shipments after a temporary halt prompted by guards’ demands for improved compensation.

Similarly, the gas pipeline connection to Italy is once again operational, according to sources familiar with the situation who preferred anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.

Protests disrupting energy infrastructure and output are not uncommon in Libya.

In recent times, demonstrations have frequently disrupted operations, with the significant Sharara oil field experiencing prolonged suspension last month due to similar protests, invoking a force majeure clause in contracts.

The resumption of activities marks a relief for both the Libyan energy sector and Italy, which heavily relies on the natural gas link for its energy needs.

However, the incidents underscore the ongoing challenges faced by Libya in maintaining stability within its vital energy infrastructure amidst socio-political unrest.

Efforts to address the grievances of protesters and ensure sustained operations remain pivotal for the country’s economic well-being and regional energy dynamics.

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Oil Prices Dip on Monday as Dollar Gains

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Oil prices experienced a downturn, extending losses from the previous session as the U.S. dollar surged against global counterparts to impact market sentiment.

Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, slipped by 0.2% to $81.48 a barrel while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude (WTI) declined by 0.3% to $76.27 a barrel.

The upward trajectory of the dollar renders oil more costly for holders of other currencies, contributing to the decline in oil prices.

This downward trend follows a week of losses, with Brent declining approximately 2% and WTI falling over 3%.

Market participants attribute these fluctuations to concerns about inflation potentially delaying anticipated cuts to high U.S. interest rates. Such expectations have been suppressing global fuel demand growth.

Analysts observe a retreat in the risk-on sentiment, coinciding with heightened expectations of prolonged interest rates.

Tina Teng, an independent analyst based in Auckland, notes that the recent market rally led by Nvidia has stalled, as elevated rate expectations bolster the U.S. dollar, thereby pressuring commodity prices, including oil.

Despite geopolitical tensions such as the Israel-Hamas conflict and attacks on ships in the Red Sea, which could have traditionally boosted oil prices, the impact remains modest.

Moreover, investors are monitoring developments surrounding Russian oil supply following recent U.S. sanctions on Moscow’s leading tanker group.

Amidst these uncertainties, Qatar’s decision to increase liquefied natural gas production further adds to global energy supplies.

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Crude Oil Dips Slightly on Friday Amid Demand Concerns

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On Friday, global crude oil prices experienced a slight dip, primarily attributed to mounting concerns surrounding demand despite signs of a tightening market.

Brent crude prices edged lower, nearing $83 per barrel, following a recent uptick of 1.6% over two consecutive sessions.

Similarly, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude hovered around $78 per barrel. Despite the dip, market indicators suggest a relatively robust market, with US crude inventories expanding less than anticipated in the previous week.

The oil market finds itself amidst a complex dynamic, balancing optimistic signals such as reduced OPEC+ output and heightened tensions in the Middle East against persistent worries about Chinese demand, particularly as the nation grapples with economic challenges.

This delicate equilibrium has led oil futures to mirror the oscillations of broader stock markets, underscoring the interconnectedness of global economic factors.

Analysts, including Michael Tran from RBC Capital Markets LLC, highlight the recurring theme of robust oil demand juxtaposed with concerning Chinese macroeconomic data, contributing to market volatility.

Also, recent attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea by Houthi militants have added a risk premium to oil futures, reflecting geopolitical uncertainties beyond immediate demand-supply dynamics.

While US crude inventories saw a slight rise, they remain below seasonal averages, indicating some resilience in the market despite prevailing uncertainties.

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