Crude oil prices softened somewhat on Monday afternoon as markets responded to optimistic comments from new U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
Bloomberg News reports that Kerry has suggested the possibility of a diplomatic solution to the ongoing standoff with Iran over its nuclear program, which the U.S. and its allies maintain is intended for the development of weapons.
The current sanctions have served to support crude oil futures, but the looming threat of further action has played an equally important role in driving up prices. As Kerry heads into talks with Iran and several other world powers, the prospect of a peaceful resolution and stepped-down sanctions has proven bearish for the energy commodity.
"Prices retreated on indications that the P5+1 will present a new proposal in this week's nuclear talks with Iran, setting the stage for future rounds of talks," said Tim Evans, an energy analyst at Citi Futures Perspective, according to the news source.
At 3:46 p.m. New York time, West Texas Intermediate crude futures had fallen 0.25 percent, a 23-cent drop to $92.87 per barrel, while Brent crude oil rose 0.1 percent, up 11 cents to $114.19 per barrel.
Oil & Gas Journal notes that oil prices dropped over the course of last week, despite a slight boost to end the week.
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