Thursday, September 26 16:47:20
Oil prices rose today, despite easing political worries and an improving supply picture, as traders sought bargains after sharp losses earlier this month.
The benchmark is still down over 4 percent so far in September, on track for its biggest monthly fall since April. It is down nearly $8 from its peak earlier in the month as fears have faded about conflict in the Middle East.
That steep decline has brought some buyers back in the market, analysts said.
"There had been some shorts in the market, and they're probably willing to cover, with equities higher," said Bob Yawger, director of commodity futures at Mizuho Securities in New Jersey. "The market was down for several days in a row and we are basically retracing on that."
Brent oil gained 61 cents to $108.93 a barrel by 11:33 a.m. EDT (1533 GMT), after slipping to $108 earlier in the session.
U.S. crude futures rose 36 cents to $103.02 a barrel.
The spread between the two benchmarks widened to $5.91 from Wednesday's close of $5.66.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he looked forward to a "good meeting" with Iran and major powers on Thursday, and a U.S. official said China agreed that Iran should respond positively to existing proposals on Iran's nuclear program.
Iran's new government said on Wednesday it wanted to jump-start talks with world powers to resolve a decade-long dispute over its nuclear program and hoped for a deal in three to six months.
This pushed oil down in late trading in New York on Wednesday after earlier strength.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is set to hold talks on the nuclear issue on Thursday with Kerry as well as diplomats from Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany. (Reuters)