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Iran’s Full Return to Oil Market Remains Perilous, Barclays Says

The breakdown of negotiations between the U.S. and world powers highlights how difficult it will be for Iran to make a full return as an oil exporter in the near future, according to Barclays Plc.

The six-nation negotiating group in Geneva didn’t agree during Nov. 9 talks with Iran on alterations to its nuclear program that would allow financial sanctions to be eased. Even had the talks been more successful, the U.S. Congress has little appetite to lift measures banning imports of Iranian crude and is considered proposals to tighten sanctions further, Miswin Mahesh, a London-based commodities analyst at Barclays, said today in an e-mailed report.

“Given the constellation of forces that could stymie a grand bargain, we contend that the path to Iran’s full return to the oil market remains quite perilous,” Mahesh said.

The failure of the talks prompted December Brent crude futures to climb 1.2 percent yesterday to $106.40 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London. Iranian crude exports were estimated at 1.17 million barrels a day in September, according to a report by the International Energy Agency on Oct. 11.

Israel and Saudi Arabia have also expressed concern of any weakening of the deal while Iran has warned against any deal that surrenders its core strategic interests, Mahesh said.

The news also coincides with a recent switch in Brent crude’s structure whereby the December front month is now trading at a premium to later months, a situation known as backwardation. Barclays expects this situation to continue.

The group of six western nations known as the P5+1 that held talks with Iran consists of the U.S., U.K., France, Russia and China -- the five permanent members of the UN Security Council -- plus Germany.

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