World oil prices firm above 73 dollars

LONDON - Oil prices crept upwards on Tuesday after two days of falls as traders eyed developments in major crude producer Iran.

By (AFP)

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Published: Tue 11 Jul 2006, 8:02 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 3:08 PM

New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in August, added six cents to 73.67 dollars per barrel in electronic deals before the official re-opening of the US market.

Brent North Sea crude for August delivery gained 23 cents to 73.12 dollars per barrel in electronic trading on Monday.

Last Friday the New York contract had hit a historic 75.78 dollars and Brent struck a record 75.09 dollars owing to simmering geopolitical tensions over Iran and North Korea.

In Tuesday trading “oil futures were a little higher, recovering after the previous two days of falls that were triggered by hopes of reduced tension between the West and Iran”, said analysts at the Sucden brokerage in London.

Crude futures had shed around three dollars late last Friday and on Monday as many traders chose to bank profits.

Iran said on Tuesday that an international proposal aimed at ending a stand-off over its nuclear programme needed to be cleared of ambiguities before the Islamic republic could give a reply.

“If the Europeans want a quick response from Iran, they should remove ambiguities,” foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told official media.

“Our response will not be impulsive, and we shouldn’t say that the response will be given at a certain date,” he stressed, adding that “now the ball is the court of the Europeans.”

World powers have been pushing Iran to respond positively to the offer -- economic, trade and political incentives in exchange for a suspension of uranium enrichment.

The West, in particular the United States, wants Teheran to respond before a meeting of Group of Eight leaders in Saint Petersburg beginning Saturday.

Iran’s hardline President Mahmud Ahmadinejad has said Teheran will not respond before August.

Easing concerns over the North Korean missile crisis meant that crude was trading at lower levels, according to Victor Shum, an analyst with energy consultancy Purvin and Gertz.

“Some of the surge (last week) in oil prices was caused by the North Korean missile tests,” Shum said.

“The tests have nothing to do with oil supply or demand, so the concerns were really hyped up and now the market is really correcting.”

A North Korean delegation left Pyongyang on Tuesday for South Korea, going ahead with inter-Korean talks that had become uncertain after the missile tests, an official in Seoul said.

North Korea -- which is not an oil producer -- last week test-fired seven missiles, including for the first time a Taepodong-2 believed able to hit US soil. It fell into the Sea of Japan (East Sea) soon after launch.

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