Oil Prices Slide on Iran Talks, U.S. Jobs Report


Oil prices fell more than 1% on Monday as revived talks on Iran's nuclear program eased supply disruption fears and as data showing slowed U.S. jobs growth in March sparked concern about demand for fuel.

Negotiations between Iran and world powers over Tehran's disputed nuclear program will be held on April 14 in Istanbul, a spokesman for European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said.

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The resumption of talks that collapsed more than a year ago tempered the level of worry at least about an immediate supply disruption or conflict in the region.

After being shut on Friday, oil markets and Wall Street reacted to the U.S. nonfarm payrolls report that showed job growth slowed to 120,000, the smallest increase since October.

Brent May crude fell $1.71 to $121.72 a barrel by 10:34 a.m. EDT (1434 GMT), having fallen as low as $121.53, testing below the 50-day moving average of $121.60.

U.S. May crude dropped $1.80 to $101.51 a barrel, below the 100-day moving average of $101.61 and having slipped as low as $101.25.

"If there are some good vibrations from the Iranian talks and they don't immediately break down, the markets will have hopes that the European Union may lighten the sanctions on Iran, at least on the insurance front," said Olivier Jakob from Petromatrix.

"At the moment, the sanctions are having a much stronger impact than anticipated, mostly through insurance, which could lead to a full interruption of Iranian oil flows," he added.