MTECHTIPS:-WTI crude halts six-day skid as Iran talks continue, China concerns fade
Crude futures surged more than 2% on Thursday halting an extended skid, amid dampened optimism for an Iranian Nuclear Deal, a rally in Chinese equities and further indications on the global supply balance following a slight build in U.S. stockpiles. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, WTI crude for August delivery soared to an intraday high of $53.53 a barrel, before falling slightly back to $52.81, up 1.16 or 2.26%. After ending June near $60 a barrel, Texas Long Sweet futures had closed lower during the previous six sessions falling approximately 14% in roughly the span of a week. On the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), brent crude for August delivery reached a session-high of $59.25 a barrel, before settling at 58.66, up 1.62 or 2.84%. Brent futures are up more than $2 a barrel after plunging more than 6% during Monday’s massive sell-off. In Vienna, hopes for a final agreement on an Iranian Nuclear Deal before Friday’s deadline faded following equivocal comments from U.S. president Barack Obama on the possibility of an accord. Over the last two weeks, a deadline for comprehensive agreement has been extended on two separate occasions. “He said in the course of the negotiations he’s been more optimistic, less optimistic. And he said that the chances at this point are below 50-50,” Sen. Richard Durbin (D, Illinois) told CNN. The two sides continue to work out sticking points related to the easing of missile and economic sanctions against the Gulf state. A nuclear deal is viewed as bearish for crude, as Iran reportedly hoards 30 million barrels of crude in its reserves ready for export. An outflow of Iranian oil could depress crude prices in a global market already oversaturated by a glut of oversupply. It is widely believed that Iran will ramp up exports if a plethora of severe economic sanctions are lifted by western powers.