Oil prices edged lower in Asian trade today as dealers await fresh developments in the bid by world powers to reach a landmark deal to curb Iran’s nuclear programme, analysts said.

New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for December delivery, was down 31 cents at $94.83 a barrel in mid-morning Asian trade, while Brent North Sea crude for December fell 23 cents to $ 106.17.

“We have seen some form of easing in oil prices today after yesterday’s rise that followed a lack of breakthrough in the Iran nuclear talks,” Desmond Chua, market analyst at CMC Markets in Singapore, said.

Short-term deal

Oil prices rose in New York trade yesterday after marathon talks in Geneva between Iran and major powers failed to produce a long-elusive deal, which could ease crude export sanctions on Tehran and bring the major oil producer back into the global market.

But negotiators have insisted they are drawing closer to securing a short-term deal that would freeze Iran’s nuclear activities while both sides work on a comprehensive agreement.

Sanctions against Iran

Iran has been crippled by the sanctions aimed at bringing an end to its nuclear drive, which the West claims is being used to develop atomic weapons. Iran denies the assertion.

The so-called P5+1 group of major powers — Britain, France, the United States, Russia and China plus Germany — and Iran will reconvene again in Geneva on November 20 to try to iron out the short-term deal.

Oil prices were also under pressure on expectations of a fresh surge in US crude stockpiles, Chua said.

Official data released last week showed US crude inventories rose for the seventh straight week, indicating soft demand in the world’s biggest economy.

The US Department of Energy’s official crude stockpiles report for the week to November 8 will be released tomorrow.

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