Harry Reid

Oil prices decreased today, but Brent is seen to be on its course to end with a second weekly increase driven by sharp overnight gains, as investors waited for a positive result from talks between Iran and world powers.

Brent for January slipped 20 by cents to stay at $109.88 per barrel, while US crude lost 24 cents trading at $95.20 per barrel, after making huge gains on Thursday, reported Reuters.

After moving close to gaining concessions from Iran during their first round of talks, the six major powers displayed some more progress in the fresh round of talks, but not in the direction of a concrete resolution, thereby dampening investors’ hopes.

US Senate majority leader Harry Reid’s comment that he was committed to go with a tougher Iran sanctions bill also put negotiators under pressure.

Prices got support from signs of a strong US economy, which witnessed a reduction in the number of new claims for jobless benefits and a significant eight-month high in factory activity during November.

Crude oil imports of China slipped to a 13-month low in October, a month after it surpassed US as the world’s biggest net oil importer, Reuters reported.

A gasoline-making unit at Total’s 360,000-bpd refinery in Antwerp, Belgium, was shutdown following an explosion on Tuesday, which killed two workers.

Supply concerns increased as unrest in Iraq continued, with violence reaching its highest level for five years.

Image: Harry Reid’s comment on Iranian sanctions put negotiators under pressure. Photo courtesy of United States Congress.