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Iran Output Freeze Headlines Spur Speculation Despite The Fine Print

Bijan Zanganeh

Wiping out two-day losses, oil spiked on Tuesday on vague speculation emanating from a Reuters report headlining “positive signals” from Iran that it could back an output freeze to counter low oil prices, while contradictory reports that Iran has still not even decided whether it will attend the OPEC meeting in Algiers next month failed to counter the upward swing in prices.

At the time of writing, WTI Crude was up 1.31 percent at US$48.03 and Brent Crude was trading up 1.51 percent to US$49.90.

While it appears to have been largely headlines rather the finer details of today’s mainstream media reports that are leading market speculation, beyond the headline, Reuters cited OPEC and oil industry sources as saying that Iran had not firmly decided anything, but appeared to be more willing to talk this time around.

Soon after the Reuters report, Iran’s ministry of petroleum said that Iran may not take part in the September meeting of OPEC and partners, according to ZeroHedge.

This, however, did not immediately affect oil prices which continued moving up.

Last week, Iran – which was relieved of several years of oil sanctions this January – pointed out that it had not yet decided whether it would attend the OPEC meeting on September 26-28 in Algiers. And at the previous OPEC meeting in April, Iran refused to consider an output freeze.

Related: Goldman: The Rally Will Stall Regardless Of OPEC Freeze

Six months after the oil sanctions were lifted, Iran pumped 3.63 million barrels of crude daily in June, the highest since 2011. The country has also said that it has regained most of its pre-sanction market share. Iranian oil exports have increased to 2.5m barrels per day, according to NIOC.

In the meantime, headlines continue to drive wild speculation ahead of the Algiers OPEC meeting scheduled for 26-28 September.

Similarly, comments last week from Saudi Arabia’s Oil Minister about the large number of short positions on crude leading to a slide in prices led to frantic covering, pushing prices higher.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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