Oil turns higher in Asian trade

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Crude turned higher in Asia on Tuesday supported by tighter European Union sanctions against Iran, but analysts said global economic concerns were putting a lid on prices.
New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for November delivery was up 11 cents to $91.96 a barrel, reversing earlier losses, while Brent North Sea crude for November climbed six cents to $115.86.
“We have concerns about the economy, in particular Europe exerting downward pressure, but supporting oil are the tighter sanctions on Iran from the EU,” said Victor Shum, senior principal of Purvin and Gertz energy consultants in Singapore.
European Union foreign ministers on Monday agreed tough new sanctions against Iran, aimed at forcing a breakthrough in talks on Tehran’s nuclear programme, and also on the regime in war-ravaged Syria.
The new sanctions target EU dealings with Iran’s banks, shipping and gas imports. Details of those targeted will be released later Tuesday but a government minister is on the new blacklist, diplomats said.
Oil-producer Iran has repeatedly denied allegations by western powers it was attempting to build an atomic bomb, saying its nuclear activities were for peaceful purposes.
Meanwhile, traders were looking to an EU summit starting Thursday for any breakthroughs on the fragile regional economy as debt-hit Spain continues to delay requesting a bailout while Greece negotiates for future funding.
“Spain continues to be a thorn in the side of traders as it supposedly teeters on the edge of EU financial aid,” said Justin Harper, an analyst with IG Markets Singapore.
“While many had hoped it would have already secured a bailout package, trading floor folk are talking about November as the earliest the Spanish government will go cap in hand to the European rescue fund.”