SINGAPORE–Oil prices fell in Asia Monday after OPEC decided to maintain its high output levels, while traders were also weighing the possible return of Iranian supplies that have been curtailed by international sanctions against Tehran, analysts said.
U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate for July delivery fell 47 cents to US$58.66 while Brent crude for July eased 42 cents to US$62.89 in afternoon trade.
Instead, they kept their collective target at 30 million barrels per day �X where it has stood for more than three and a half years. OPEC countries are reported to be actually pumping more than 31 million barrels a day, with the risk of more coming on line. Six global powers �X the UK, China, France, Germany, Russia and the U.S. �X are trying to nail down a deal to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions by reducing its stockpiles of enriched uranium and mothballing some of its sites. If the agreement is reached and implemented, the powers have agreed to gradually scale back sanctions imposed since 2012, including on its petroleum industry.
Iran has the world’s fourth-largest oil reserves but its exports have fallen from more than 2.2 million barrels per day in 2011 to about 1.3 million because of the sanctions.