NEW YORK (Reuters) - Crude oil futures rose more than 1 percent on Thursday, rebounding from the previous session’s slump, as talks between world powers and Iran over its nuclear program hit a snag, stirring fears of supply disruption and a new Mideast conflict.
Weak economic data from China, Europe and the United States kept buyers cautious about the shaky global economy, with the talks still fluid in Baghad on Iran’s nuclear goals.
Iran accused world powers of creating “a difficult atmosphere” that hindered negotiations on its atomic energy program, signaling a snag in diplomacy to defuse fears of an Iranian attempt to develop nuclear bombs.
Chinese factory output faltered in May, according to official data, as export orders fell to two-month lows, pointing to sluggish economic activity in the first half of the year and denting the outlook for oil demand.
The euro zone has sunk further into the doldrums this month as new orders shriveled, forcing companies to run down backlogs and slash workforces, surveys show.
Also worrying policymakers, the downturn that started in smaller members has spread to Germany and France, whose tepid growth had been keeping the troubled bloc afloat.
Demand for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods rose less than expected in April while weekly jobless claims dipped only modestly, adding to worries about the economy of the world’s largest oil consumer.
By 10:50 a.m. EDT (1450 GMT), Brent futures rose $1.02 to $106.58 a barrel, after touching a session high of $106.94 before weak Chinese and European economic data sparked a bout of selling.
U.S. crude for July gained $1.43 to $91.33, after climbing to an early high of $91.52. On Wednesday, it settled at $89.90, lowest close for front-month U.S. crude since October 21.
“The market is now betting on Iran hardening its stance again,” said Tamas Varga, analyst at brokers PVM Oil Associates in London. “Given the Greek crisis, however, any rally should be fairly short-lived.”
Additional reporting by Robert Gibbons in New York and Christopher Johnson in London; Editing by David Gregorio