By Gina Lee
Investing.com – Oil was up Monday morning in Asia after Saudi Arabia raised prices for its crude headed to Asia and the U.S. Meanwhile, indirect talks between the U.S. and Iran to revive a 2015 nuclear deal seem to have hit a deadlock.
Brent oil futures rose 1.96% to $71.25 by 10:22 PM ET (3:22 AM GMT) and WTI futures jumped 2.01% to $67.59.
Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, raised the selling prices for January crude oil by up 80 cents from the previous month. The increase comes even after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies (OPEC+) decided to stick to its plan of increasing supplies by 400,000 barrels per day in January at its meeting last week.
Saudi Aramco (SE:2222) raised its key Arab Light grade for Asian customers by 60 cents from December to $3.30 a barrel above a benchmark, it said in a statement. Chief Executive Officer Amin Nasser said last week that he was “very optimistic” about demand and that the market had overreacted to the new omicron COVID-19 variant.
Uncertainty about the likelihood of Iranian oil supplies also gave the black liquid a boost. Although indirect talks between the U.S. and Iran to revive the nuclear deal broke off last week, they are expected to resume in the middle of this week.
Meanwhile, International Monetary Fund managing director Kristalina Georgieva said that the institution will likely lower its global economic growth estimates due to omicron. Omicron has already spread to around a third of U.S. states as of Sunday, and investors continue to monitor its impact on fuel demand.