Oil Climbs as Iran Seen Taking Part in Informal OPEC Meeting

JPMorgan's Michele: Oil Can Settle in at $42, $43
  • Iran’s oil minister to attend producer talks in Algiers: Shana
  • No ‘significant’ market intervention required: Saudi Minister

Oil increased after a report that Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh will participate in an informal meeting of OPEC members next month in Algiers.

Futures rose 1.2 percent in New York. Prices surged this month partly on speculation that informal talks among members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers may lead to action to stabilize the market. Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said he doesn’t "believe intervention of significance is required.” Oil fell Wednesday after government data showed that U.S. crude supplies climbed last week.

"OPEC is doing a good job jawboning the market," said Bill O’Grady, chief market strategist at Confluence Investment Management in St. Louis, which oversees $5.2 billion. "The Iranian statement that they will attend the talks in Algiers is helpful."

Oil entered a bull market on Aug. 18, less than three weeks after tumbling into a bear market. U.S. crude supplies remain more than 100 million barrels above the five-year average as the nation’s summer driving season approaches its end on Labor Day, Sept. 5.

West Texas Intermediate for October delivery rose 56 cents to settle at $47.33 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract slid 2.8 percent to $46.77 on Wednesday, the lowest close since Aug. 16. Total volume traded was 25 percent below the 100-day average.

Upcoming Talks

Brent for October settlement increased 62 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $49.67 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The global benchmark crude closed at a $2.34 premium to WTI.

“I will participate in this meeting,” Iran’s Zanganeh said, according to the oil ministry’s news service Shana. Zanganeh had not previously committed to attend the meeting, and he didn’t comment on the position Iran will take at the talks.

An oil-output freeze by producing countries would be “positive” if it happens because it would indicate that supply and demand are balanced,  Al-Falih he said in an interview in Los Angeles at U.S.-Saudi Arabian Business Council event.

IEF Summit

The International Energy Forum, comprising 73 countries that account for about 90 percent of the global supply and demand for oil and natural gas, will meet in Algiers on Sept. 26-28.

"The news about the Iranian Oil Minister heading to Algiers is bullish," said Bob Yawger, director of the futures division at Mizuho Securities USA Inc. in New York. "This increases the likelihood of an agreement to freeze production. It would be a freeze at very high levels, but the market still would take that as bullish."

U.S. crude stockpiles expanded 2.5 million barrels to 523.6 million in the week ended Aug. 19, the EIA reported Wednesday. Gasoline inventories increased by 36,000 barrels to 232.7 million, the EIA said.

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