Brent crude traded near a 12-year low in London, briefly dipping below $28 a barrel, after the lifting of international sanctions on Iran paved the way for increased supply amid a global glut.
Futures were little changed after earlier dropping as much as 4.4 percent in London to the lowest since November 2003. Iran is beginning efforts to boost output and exports by 500,000 barrels a day now that restrictions have ended, Amir Hossein Zamaninia, deputy oil minister for commerce and international affairs, said Sunday. Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi dismissed supply concerns with a forecast that prices will recover.
Brent capped a third annual loss in 2015 as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries effectively abandoned output limits. Iran, which was OPEC’s second-biggest producer before sanctions were intensified in 2012, is trying to regain its lost market share and doesn’t intend to pressure prices, officials from its petroleum ministry and national oil company said this month.
Brent for March settlement fell as much as $1.27 to $27.67 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange and was at $28.99 as of 11:19 a.m. London time. Front-month prices declined 14 percent last week for a third weekly drop. The European benchmark crude was at a discount of as much as $2 to West Texas Intermediate for March, the most since 2010.
WTI for February delivery fell as much as $1.06, or 3.6 percent, to $28.36 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract slid $1.78 on Friday. Total volume traded Monday was more than double the 100-day average. Prices have lost 22 percent this year.