Oil held its decline as Russia signaled Iran won’t join major producers in freezing output to manage a global glut.
Futures were little changed New York after falling from a three-month high Monday. Iran has “reasonable arguments” for not joining an output freeze now, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said after meeting with his Iranian counterpart. Talks on the production cap are most likely to occur in Qatar’s capital Doha next month, three Gulf OPEC delegates said. U.S. stockpiles probably expanded last week, keeping supplies at the most since 1930.
“Supply is still the key factor for the market,” David Lennox, an analyst at Fat Prophets in Sydney, said by phone. “If there is a meeting and it does result in a decision on definitive action, that will be positive for prices, but history is against anything happening,”
Oil has rebounded after slumping to a 12-year low this year on speculation stronger demand and falling U.S. output will ease a surplus. Iranian production increased last month by the most in almost two decades following the end of international sanctions, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said in its monthly report Monday. Supply from Saudi Arabia was mostly unchanged.
West Texas Intermediate for April delivery fell 14 cents to $37.04 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 10:43 a.m. Hong Kong time. The contract dropped $1.32 to $37.18 on Monday from $38.50 on Friday, the highest close since Dec. 4. Total volume traded was about 36 percent below the 100-day average.
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Brent for May settlement was 21 cents lower at $39.32 a barrel on the the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The contract declined 86 cents, or 2.1 percent, to $39.53 on Monday. The global benchmark was at a premium of 65 cents to WTI for May.
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