By Bozorgmehr Sharafedin
LONDON (Reuters) – Crude traded in a tight range on Wednesday, supported by optimism about improving demand for fuel in the United States and a weak dollar, although the prospect of a return of Iranian oil to the market kept at bay. any winnings.
* At 1111 GMT, Brent crude was down 2 cents, or 0.03%, at $ 68.65 a barrel, and West Texas Intermediate in the United States (WTI) was down 8 cents, or 0.14%, at $ 65.99 a barrel.
* “Physical demand has been improving in both Europe and the United States as the decline in new COVID-19 cases has been pushing up mobility,” said Warren Patterson, an analyst at ING.
* The summer travel season in the Northern Hemisphere and the lifting of lockdowns due to the coronavirus have boosted demand, causing crude and fuel inventories to fall in the United States last week, two market sources said, citing figures from the American Institute of Petroleum (API).
* The dollar languished near multi-month lows after Federal Reserve officials reaffirmed their cautious stance on monetary policy, assuring investors that they are not concerned about the prospect of accelerating inflation.
* Market players are also keeping an eye on the development of nuclear negotiations between Iran and the United States, which could lead to the lifting of sanctions on the Iranian energy industry and allow more Tehran crude to reach the market.
* According to analyst estimates, Iran could add an additional supply of between 1 and 2 million barrels per day if a deal is closed.
* “From our point of view, the fundamental situation in the oil market remains balanced,” said Eugen Weinberg, an analyst at Commerzbank, adding that Brent “will make a renewed bet on $ 70 a barrel in the coming days.”
(Additional reporting by Yuka Obayashi in Tokyo; edited in Spanish by Carlos Serrano)