Interest rates

Oil prices loosen on possible Iranian oil exports and rising interest rates

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NEW YORK – Oil prices fell in volatile trade on Thursday as investors braced for the possible return of sanctioned Iranian oil exports to the market and feared that higher U.S. interest rates could weaken demand for fuel .

The prospect that the group of producers OPEC+ could curb oil supply limited the drop in oil prices.

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Brent crude fell 4 cents to $101.18 a barrel at 11:41 p.m. EDT 1541 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude fell 33 cents, or 0.4%, to $94.56 a barrel.

EU-US-Iran talks UPDATE 4 – Iran examines US response to EU nuclear text to revive 2015 pact – Reuters to revive nuclear deal of 2015 continues, with Iran claiming to have received a US response to the EU’s “final” text to resurrect the deal.

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Investors were also awaiting remarks scheduled for Friday by U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who is expected at the Kansas City Fed Economic Policy Symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

“The (market) is a bit concerned about what Jerome Powell is going to say tomorrow about rising interest rates,” said Chicago-based Price Futures analyst Phil Flynn.

Powell is expected to summarize the Fed’s position in its fight to control inflation, including information on its hike in long-term and short-term rates.

Limiting the drop in oil prices were Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman’s comments on Monday that helped push prices to three-week highs, when he signaled the possibility that OPEC+ could cut production.

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“This could (make) the chance of a return below $90 in the near term hard to come by unless a nuclear deal is reached and OPEC+’s appetite for cuts is put to rest. ordeal,” said Oanda analyst Craig Erlam.

Falling US crude and product inventories also helped support prices. Oil inventories fell 3.3 million barrels in the week to August 19 to 421.7 million barrels, higher than analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a drop of 933,000 barrels.

The bullish effect was offset by a lower than expected decline in gasoline inventories, reflecting weak demand.

US gasoline inventories fell 27,000 barrels during the week to 215.6 million barrels. Analysts had forecast a decline of 1.5 million barrels. (Additional reporting by Ahmad Ghaddar in London and Jeslyn Lerh in Singapore; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise, Barbara Lewis and David Gregorio)

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