Iran oil min says oil below $100 “not reasonable”

Iran wants oil prices to stay above $100 a barrel, its oil minister said on Sunday after crude touched nine-month lows near $101 on Friday and ahead of OPEC’s next meeting on May 31.

 “An oil price below $100 is not reasonable for anyone,” Rostam Qasemi said.

A broad sell-off in commodities saw Brent crude contracts fall from around $106 a barrel on Wednesday to a close of $103.11 on Friday.

Fellow OPEC member Saudi Arabia’s oil minister said last month that around $100 a barrel was a “reasonable” price for consumers and producers alike.

Weak economic data from the United States on Friday followed forecasts for lower global oil demand growth for 2013 released last week by the International Energy Agency and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Brent prices recovered a little on Friday afternoon as oil traders started buying the global benchmark while selling US crude oil on news of a large increase of Canadian oil flows into the United States.

Brent has traded mostly above $100 a barrel since early 2011, driven by unrest in Libya and a standoff over Iran’s nuclear programme, worrying investors that elevated energy costs will hurt the fragile global recovery.

 Western sanctions have cut Tehran’s oil exports by more than half over the past year, making every extra dollar it can raise from those barrels it can sell vital for public coffers.