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Oil prices mixed ahead of Iran talks, US data

AFP | Last Updated: Wednesday, November 20, 2013 - 19:49

London: Oil prices traded narrowly mixed on Wednesday as markets awaited key talks over Iran`s nuclear programme and looked ahead to official data on US crude inventory levels.

New York`s main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in December, edged up 10 cents to $93.44 a barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for January fell 29 cents to stand at $106.63 a barrel in London midday deals.

Major oil producer Iran has voiced optimism on a nuclear deal ahead of talks in Geneva but accused Israel of trying to sabotage them, and of stoking Mideast tensions, following bomb attacks on its embassy in Beirut.

US President Barack Obama struck a cautious tone, insisting that any relief from crippling international sanctions that Iran could expect under an interim pact was highly limited and refusing to say if a deal was within reach.

Fresh talks with the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia plus Germany -- the so-called P5+1 -- over Tehran`s nuclear programme were due to start in the Swiss city on Wednesday.

The talks aim to convince Iran to roll back its nuclear programme, which Tehran is accused of using to build nuclear weapons, a charge it denies. In exchange, they are offering relief from sanctions.

Years of US and EU sanctions have meanwhile more than halved Iran`s oil sales and crippled its economy. An accord in Geneva would be a major breakthrough after years of tense brinkmanship and failed diplomatic initiatives.

Traders were awaiting also weekly data from the US Department of Energy, with the consensus for another rise in crude stockpiles, the ninth in a row -- indicating weak demand in the world`s biggest economy.

First Published: Wednesday, November 20, 2013 - 19:49
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