Oil prices hit their lowest since 2003 on Monday, as the market braced for a jump in Iranian exports after the lifting of sanctions against the country over the weekend, Business Today reports.
The UN nuclear watchdog on Saturday said Tehran had met its commitments to curtail its nuclear programme, and the United States immediately revoked sanctions that had slashed Iran’s oil exports by around 2 million barrels per day (bpd) since its pre-sanctions 2011 peak to little more than 1 million bpd.
On Sunday, Iran – a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) – said it was ready to increase its exports by 500,000 bpd.
“Iranian exports come at a very bad time,” said Barclays analysts. A chronic global surplus of a million barrels or more of crude daily has pulled down oil prices by over 75 per cent since mid-2014 and by over a quarter since the start of 2016.
Worries about Iran’s return to an already glutted oil market drove down Brent to $27.67 a barrel early on Monday, its lowest since 2003. The benchmark was at $28.55 by 0523 GMT, still down over 1 per cent from its settlement on Friday.
US crude was down 38 cents at $29.04 a barrel, not far from a 2003-low of $28.36 hit earlier in the session.