Oil Prices Steadier after Strong Falls

Oil prices were little moved in early Asian trading on Friday after a volatile week that saw sharp falls along with Chinese equities followed by a strong rebound on the back of extreme government support measures.  Meanwhile, oil traders were awaiting news of whether a compromise could be reached between major world powers and Iran that could lead to sharply increased oil flows if sanctions against Tehran are lifted, although the U.S. government said overnight that it was in no rush to reach a deal.

Front-month U.S. crude futures CLc1 were trading at $52.79 per barrel at 0046 GMT, almost unchanged from their last settlement, although prices remain more than 7 percent below last Friday.  Front-month Brent crude LCOc1 was down 9 cents at $58.52 a barrel, some 3 percent below the end of last week.

The biggest market mover this week has been China’s stock market turmoil, with the government forced to launch emergency measures to halt a 30 percent fall in prices since June.  “To put things in perspective, the fall in market capitalization in the share market (of China) alone since its peak in June is equivalent to almost 10 times Greece’s GDP. Meanwhile commodity prices are again falling rapidly,” Goldman Sach said.