July 31 (UPI) -- Crude oil prices softened ahead of the start of U.S. trading Tuesday on possible wiggle room in Iran and steady personal incomes in the United States.
Speaking during a press conference with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, U.S. President Donald Trump opened the door to a possible face-to-face meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. According to Phil Flynn of the PRICE Futures Group in Chicago, that was a sign the market might avoid an all-out loss of Iranian oil when U.S. sanctions kick in by November.
"Oil prices, which were on the rise on concerns of tightening supply, and growing desperation that the loss of Iranian oil supplies would not be easily replaced, may have found a ray of hope," he said in a daily emailed market report.
The price for Brent crude oil, the global benchmark for the price of oil, was down 0.73 percent as of 9:15 a.m. EDT to $75 per barrel. West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark for the price of oil, was down 1.37 percent to $69.17 per barrel.
The downturn follows a strong showing for U.S. gross domestic product in the second quarter, though oil prices last week barely moved on the 4 percent gain. On Tuesday, the U.S. Commerce Department reported personal income levels increased 0.4 percent in June, more or less stable for the year. Disposable personal income showed a similar trend.
The results were different, however, in the European economy. For the 19 countries that use the euro currency, GDP increased 0.3 percent from the second quarter. Growth between the fourth quarter and the first quarter was 0.4 percent, and 0.7 percent between the last two quarters of 2017.
Shrugging off concerns about global trade tensions, BP CEO Bob Dudley said in a conference on second quarter earnings that crude oil prices would be supported by supply disruptions from OPEC members Iran, Libya and Venezuela, but his outlook for the price of oil was lower than current market levels.
"We continue to plan for oil prices in the range of $50-$65 per barrel," he said.