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Brent, WTI Prices Edge Down

Brent, WTI Prices Edge DownBrent, WTI Prices Edge Down

Oil prices edged lower on Friday, but Brent largely held its gains from the previous session. Global benchmark Brent crude futures were down 27 cents, or 0.4%, at $74.47 a barrel, after rising 1% on Thursday. US West Texas Intermediate crude fell 19 cents, or 0.3%, to $68 a barrel. The contract gained 0.2% the previous session, CNBC reported. Brent is heading for a third week of gains, up by 0.5%, while WTI is set to drop 0.4% for the week.

“There is a little bit of profit-taking today,” said Virendra Chauhan, oil analyst at Energy Aspects in Singapore.

“The broader narrative, particularly the strength in Brent, is that people are really concerned about going short oil when sanctions are potentially going to be reimposed and the market is trying to assess what that means for Iranian exports,” he added.

US President Donald Trump will decide by May 12 whether to reimpose sanctions on Iran lifted after an agreement over its disputed nuclear program, which would probably result in a reduction of Iranian oil exports.

Brent has gained 5.9% this month on expectations the United States will renew sanctions.

Concerns about market tightness have also been fueled by the deteriorating political and economic situation in Venezuel, which has led to a 40% decline in crude output in the past two years. Nonetheless, further gains have been capped by rising US production, as shale drillers ramp up activity in tandem with the climb in oil prices.  Surging US production, which rose to 10.59 million bpd last week, has encouraged record-high US exports.

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