Singapore: Oil prices were slightly higher in Asian trade on 4 April as Britain awaited Iran’s response to its proposal for direct bilateral discussions over the 15 naval personnel detained by Tehran.
Britain said overnight that the two countries shared a desire to resolve the impasse just hours after Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett cautioned against hope of a “swift resolution” to the stand-off.
At 11:30 a.m. (local time), New York’s main oil futures contract, light sweet crude for delivery in May, was up two cents to $64.66 (Rs2,797.19) a barrel from $64.64 a barrel in late US trades. Brent North Sea crude for May rose seven cents to $67.88.
Prices had fallen sharply overnight on hopes for an easing of tensions with Iran.
“People feel that there are some signs that both sides are moving to a peaceful resolution and towards diplomacy. This has brought the geopolitical risk premium in the market down,” said Mitsubishi Corp’s Tokyo-based energy risk manager Tony Nunan.
He cautioned however that this did not mean tensions would ease quickly, noting that Iran remains under international pressure over its nuclear programme.
Oil prices have risen over the past week on concerns that Iran, the world’s fourth-biggest producer of oil, could move to cut its exports should the crisis with Britain escalate.