DUBAI, June 16 (Xinhua) -- Oil prices remained in a stutter mode after OPEC member states opted to keep the quota unchanged last Thursday, whilst uncertainty about the outcome of elections in Egypt and Greece prevailed in the markets.
On Friday, the DME Oman Crude Futures closed at 96.59 U.S. dollars, slightly lower from last week's trading at 97.65 U.S. dollars. The contract is used as a benchmark for Arab sour oil West of Suez and traded at the Dubai Mercantile Exchange.
At the 161th OPEC meeting in Vienna last Thursday, the OPEC cartel of oil producing states decided to leave production limit at 30 million barrels per day.
While Saudi Arabia pushed for a higher quota to offset shortages due to sanctions upon Iran, on which the EU has imposed an oil embargo coming into force on July 1. Iran itself, Iraq, Algeria and Venezuela opposed a limit increase. These countries fear that an increase to 30.5 million barrels per day, which Riyadh proposed, would sent oil prices plummeting thus reducing their revenues from oil exports.
Oil prices continued also to trade slightly above an eight- month low because U.S. President Barack Obama issued an "Iran oil waver" to India, along with six other countries, from the U.S. sanctions against Iran, rewarding them for "significantly" reducing oil deliveries from the Islamic Republic.
Two events are expected to have impact on the price front in the third week of June. The presidential elections in Egypt and the parliamentary elections in the euro zone's trouble-child Greece. After the High Court in Cairo surprisingly dissolved the newly elected parliament due to alleged irregularities, Egyptians will decide on Sunday if former Prime Minister Ahmed Safiq or Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim brotherhood's candidate, will be the next president to rule the country.
While Egypt and the Middle East fear post-election riots triggered by the losing camp, Greece's way to the polls on June 17 is regarded critical regardless of whether or not the euro zone will break apart.
While Greek's party New Democracy said it aims re-negotiate a global bailout plan that will keep Greece liquid and staying the 17-member euro zone, the radical left-wing Syriza openly opposed any bailout agreement, triggering fears among the big euro zone members, notably Germany and France, that Athens might return to the antic currency drachma.
A victory of Syriza is overall feared to send global market tumbling and this could likewise send oil prices diving.