You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Oil prices volatile on output fears

BBC News BBC News 4/04/2016
Oil refining facilities © Getty Images Oil refining facilities

Oil prices have rebounded slightly after early falls, although doubts still remain that output will be curbed at a meeting later this month.

Iran's oil minister has reportedly repeated that the country will continue to increase production and exports.

The slight rise follows big falls on Friday after Saudi Arabia said it would freeze production only if other major producers did the same.

Oil producers are to meet on 17 April to discuss a deal to freeze output.

Brent crude crept up by 0.5% to $38.86 in morning trading.

'Continue increasing production'

In February, Saudi Arabia struck a deal with Russia and other Opec nations to freeze oil output at January levels.

But Iran wants production to hit pre-sanction levels before beginning talks.

Over the weekend, Iranian oil minister Bijan Zanganeh told Iran's Mehr News agency that the country would continue increasing its production and exports until it reached the market position it held before the imposition of sanctions.

Mehr quotes him as saying he would attend the meeting in the Qatari capital "if he had time".

His latest comments reinforce similar comments he made last month. Then, he made it clear Iran would only join discussions to cap output after its production reached four million barrels per day.

Supply freeze

Oil prices hit a peak of $116 in June 2014, but have subsequently dived because of oversupply and sluggish demand.

The producers' meeting later this month will take place in the Qatari capital, Doha. It will involve Opec and non-Opec members and will discuss freezing supply at January levels to help push the oil price back up.

However, in an interview with Bloomberg last week, Saudi Arabia's deputy crown price Mohammed bin Salman said: "If all countries agree to freeze production, we will be among them."

He was asked if Iran had to be among those countries, to which he replied: "Without doubt."

'Speculation'

Despite the late morning's slight rise in Brent crude, the price is still hovering around its lowest level for a month.

"It's not very strange to see a wave of profit-taking and some unwinding of long positions, and some people even saying they could reposition for a move towards lower prices," said ABN Amro chief energy economist Hans van Cleef.

"That's part of a normal cycle that I think can continue this week, we might see $36 or $37. Prices are coming down because of speculation Saudi Arabia will not join [the freeze deal] and that's probably what we'll see over the next three weeks - more speculation and more verbal intervention."

More From BBC News

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon