US markets surge as Iran deal fuels hope of trade

BRENT crude prices fell only slightly yesterday as traders began to question how soon a nuclear deal between world powers and Iran could translate into higher supplies to global markets.

The price of the international benchmark see-sawed during the day, trading down as much as $3 a barrel before closing at $111 a barrel, just five cents down from yesterday.

Meanwhile, the US Nasdaq stock index closed at 3,994.57, having earlier breached the 4,000 mark. And airline shares soared as investors bet on the prospect of cheaper fuel bills once Iran’s oil supplies re-enter the global market.

France’s foreign minister said yesterday the EU will explore lifting more sanctions imposed on Iran as soon as December, raising hopes for energy and commodities firms.

“Iran is committed to giving up the prospect of nuclear weapons. It’s perfectly clear,” Laurent Fabius told a French radio station.

Shell, which owes Iran’s state oil company around $2.3bn from legacy contracts that it is currently unable to pay, declined to comment yesterday. And India, one of Iran’s few remaining trading partners, stands ready to increase oil imports as early as next week, officials said.

However, Israel has sent a team to speak with Obama’s administration over the temporary six-month deal, which was brokered by US officials in secret before five other nations including Britain became involved. Israel is furious at the easing of sanctions against Iran.