Crude dive deepens as market braces for more Iranian oil

Brent crude futures plunged more than 4 percent to fresh 12-year lows on Friday as the market braced for increased Iranian oil exports, with the lifting of international sanctions possible within days.

Brent and U.S. crude oil were on track to close lower for a third consecutive week, down roughly 20 percent from their 2016 highs.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) could issue its report on Iran’s compliance with an agreement to curb its nuclear program during a Friday meeting in Vienna, potentially triggering the lifting of Western sanctions.

U.S. crude futures were down by more than 4.5 percent at $29.67 per barrel at 1219 GMT, after posting their first significant gains for 2016 in the previous session. The contract hit $29.39, their lowest since November 2003.

The March Brent contract was down $1.15 at $29.73 a barrel. It hit a session low of $29.43, its lowest since February 2004.

The February Brent contract, which expired on Thursday, closed higher for the first time this year at $31.03 per barrel.

#Reuters

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