Oil prices rallied sharply on news that Iranian oil exports have fallen significantly this month as tightening Western sanctions cause some buyers to stop or scale back purchases.
Iran's crude exports appear to have fallen in March by
around 300,000 barrels per day, or 14%, the first sizeable drop in shipments
this year, according to estimates from industry consultant Petrologistics and
an oil company.
After Brent oil extended its rise to nearly $4 and US crude
also rose sharply, oil prices pared gains as equities fell on Wall Street
following data that showed US new single-family home sales declined in
Brent crude rose $2.08 to $125.22 a barrel as of 10:50 a.m.
EDT (1450 GMT), having swung from $123.10 to $127.06.
US crude rose $1.45 to $106.80 a barrel, having traded from
$105.16 to $108.25.
On Thursday, oil slid on disappointing Chinese manufacturing
data and euro zone PMI figures.
Ahead of the Iranian export news, oil prices had already
been supported by a drop in the dollar. A weaker US currency can lift
dollar-denominated crude oil by making it less expensive for consumers using