Oil inches down but Brent ends week firmer on Iran concerns
Oil prices edged lower on Friday, although Brent still gained for a third straight week amid supply concerns should the United States reimpose sanctions on Iran, APA reports quoting Reuters.
Brent crude futures LCOc1 fell 10 cents, or 0.1 percent, to settle at $74.64 a barrel. This month, the global benchmark hit highs above $75, a level last seen in late 2014.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 futures fell 9 cents to settle at $68.10 a barrel, also a 0.1 percent loss.
Brent gained about 0.5 percent this week - its third consecutive weekly gain - while WTI posted a weekly loss of about 0.5 percent.
Hedge funds and other money managers cut their combined futures and options position in U.S. crude in New York and London by 17,021 contracts to 455,885 during the week to April 24, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
U.S. President Donald Trump will decide by May 12 whether to reimpose sanctions on Iran that were lifted as part of an agreement with six other world powers over Tehran’s nuclear program. The renewed sanctions would likely dampen Iranian oil exports, disrupting global oil supply.
“That’s the biggest factor right now that’s driving the market. And that’s why you’re seeing low volatility today and for the most part during the week,” Rob Thummel, portfolio manager at energy investment manager Tortoise Capital in Leawood, Kansas.
“The market is just kind of waiting on that.”
Brent has risen by around 6 percent so far this month, while WTI was on track for a gain of nearly 5 percent. The gains came despite a higher dollar .DXY, which hit its strongest since Jan. 11 against a basket of currencies.
A stronger dollar makes greenback-denominated commodities more expensive for holders of other currencies.
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