LONDON — The price of Brent crude oil surged to a nine-month high Thursday, propelled by intensifying Iran concerns amid reports that Japan wanted to slash its Iranian crude imports, traders said.
Brent North Sea crude for delivery in April soared as high as $124.09 per barrel, reaching a level last seen on May 3, 2011. It later pulled back to $123.81, 91 cents from Wednesday’s closing level.
New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for April, eased eight cents to $106.20 a barrel on the back of weak data from Europe and China. It had struck a nine-month high of $106.72 on Wednesday.
“As before, it is the Iran conflict that is causing (Brent) prices to skyrocket,” said Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch.
“According to media reports, Japan intends to slash its oil imports from Iran by over 20 percent – twice as much as previously expected.
“For as long as the oil price continues to rise, Iran is likely to compensate for its reduced sales volume by charging a higher price, and cannot be expected to make any concessions in the nuclear dispute in the near future.”
Traders were also on tenterhooks ahead of the latest weekly snapshot of energy inventories in leading global oil consumer the United States. – AFP