Front month Brent blend crude oil futures, seen as more responsive to the outcome of Iran’s nuclear talks with world powers than US counterpart WTI, dipped slightly on 3 April after Tehran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany reached a framework agreement that promises relief from a raft of financial and energy-related sanctions. The market’s reaction, however, was muted because the conditional nature of the accord, to be finalized by the end of June, does not herald an immediate return of more Iranian oil to markets.

Under the framework agreement, reached in the lakeside Swiss city of Lausanne late on 2 April after marathon discussions between Iran and the so-called P5+1 group of world powers, Iran will have to comply with strict new curbs on its uranium enrichment, and limit the scope of its nuclear program before the sanctions are lifted. Front month Brent crude oil futures for May delivery slipped below $55/B immediately after the accord was announced, but recovered to trade above that level at the start of business on 3 April (see p24). (CONTINUED - 1852 WORDS)