(Bloomberg) — Oil’s rally accelerated after Iran said that gaps remain in negotiations involving world powers in reaching a deal that would end U.S. sanctions on its crude.
Futures climbed as much as 2.6% in New York with added support from a weakening dollar making commodities priced in the currency more attractive. Iran said there are still differences around the timing of when countries will return to compliance with the original 2015 nuclear agreement.
While the market is anticipating the Islamic Republic’s supply will pick up again by late summer, the demand recovery will be strong enough to absorb it, Goldman Sachs Group Inc said. The bank expects Brent futures to hit $80 a barrel in the next few months.
“Whether a deal gets done will move prices around one way or another,” said Gary Cunningham, director at Stamford, Connecticut-based Tradition Energy. “It doesn’t look we’re getting those Iranian barrels coming back as quickly as the market thought we would.”
Talks between Iran and world powers will continue in Vienna this week to resolve outstanding issues. As part of that process, Iran extended a UN nuclear inspections agreement, buying diplomats time to revive the landmark deal that would usher in an official return of the Persian Gulf nation to world oil markets. Meanwhile, Iran has already found buyers for its oil exports ahead of an agreement on the nuclear deal, notably China. Those ties may become even stronger, with the leaders of both countries speaking on the phone about Iran expanding its oil sales to China.
Crude has been largely stuck between $60 and $70 a barrel recently, with concerns over returning output being counteracted with the ongoing demand recovery underway in some key markets. Virus cases in the U.S. were below 30,000 every day last week for the first time since June, though parts of Asia continue to see significant infections.
“The specter of Iranian sanctions relief looms large over the oil market,” said PVM Oil Associates analyst Stephen Brennock. “Additional supply from Tehran is poised to be absorbed by the market as a result of a vaccine-spurred surge in demand over the coming months.”
Physical markets continue to get a boost from a raft of buying from refiners in Asia. Japan’s Fuji Oil became the latest company to buy Middle Eastern crude on Monday, after a spate of bullish interest last week.
Goldman isn’t alone in its view on the impact of returning Iranian supply. Citigroup Inc. said it expects only a partial return of the country’s barrels initially. The bank still sees oil hitting the mid-$70s in the third quarter, but said prices could retreat thereafter.
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