Oil prices extended losses on Thursday following a report a meeting between oil producers to discuss a global pact on freezing production is unlikely to take place in Russia on March 20.
Sources familiar with the matter say the meeting was likely to be scuttled, as OPEC member Iran is yet to say whether it would participate in such a deal.
“They are not agreeing on the meeting. Why would the ministers meet again now? Iran says they will not do anything,” said an OPEC source from a major producer. “Only if Iran agrees, things will change.”
OPEC officials including Nigeria’s oil minister have said a meeting would take place in Moscow on that date, potentially as the next step in widening an agreement to freeze output at January levels struck by OPEC members Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Qatar plus non-member Russia last month
Brent crude futures were at $40.43 per barrel at 9:34 a.m. ET (1434 GMT), down $1.04 from their last close, having earlier this week peaked at $41.48, the highest level since Dec. 9. U.S. crude was down 72 cents at $37.57 per barrel, having hit $38.51 on Tuesday, also its highest since Dec. 9.