Oil in New York swung between gains and losses near a five-year low as investors weighed a drop in U.S. crude stockpiles against signs that Iran is joining other OPEC members in refusing to cede market share.
Futures were little changed after rising 1 percent yesterday. Crude stockpiles in the U.S., the world’s largest oil consumer, fell by 847,000 barrels last week, the Energy Information Administration reported. Iran “will under no conditions let go of its share” of the market given restrictions on its exports in recent years, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said, according to the ministry’s news website.
Oil has slumped more than 20 percent since OPEC decided at a meeting last month to maintain its output quota, resisting calls from members including Venezuela to cut supply. Iran this week followed Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Kuwait in offering wider discounts for sales to Asia. U.S. producers are pumping crude at the fastest pace in three decades amid a shale boom.