Oil prices down by more than $1/bbl in on Iran, US economy

09 April 2012 04:22  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Oil prices fell by more than $1/bbl in early Asian trade on Monday following news that talks between Iran, a major supplier of crude, and Western powers are set to begin this week.

Poor economic data from the US, the world’s top consumer of oil, also weighed on oil prices.

At 02:43 GMT, May Brent crude on London’s ICE futures exchange was trading at $122.45/bbl, down 98 cents from the previous close on Thursday. Earlier, the North Sea benchmark fell to a session low of $122.17/bbl, down $1.26/bbl.

Oil markets were closed on 6 April because of Good Friday.   

May NYMEX light sweet crude futures (WTI) were trading at $102.12/bbl, down $1.19/bbl from the previous settlement on Thursday. Earlier, the US benchmark fell to a session low of $101.87/bbl, down $1.44/bbl.

News reports citing Iranian media on Sunday said that talks over the country’s disputed nuclear programme were set to begin later this week.

The countries involved in the talks include the US, Britain, Russia, France, China and Germany, they said.

Crude values have surged this year amid ongoing supply worries generated by heightened tensions between the West and Iran over Tehran’s nuclear programme and disruption to supplies from other producers in the Middle East and elsewhere.  

Brent prices have surged by nearly $20/bbl this year to touch a high of $128.40/bbl in April.

Oil prices were also weighed by a US Labor Department report on 6 April which showed weaker than expected jobs growth last month, raising concerns on the overall recovery of the US economy.

US non-farm payrolls slowed to 120,000 in March this year, the smallest increase since October 2011.

By: Nurluqman Suratman

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