Oil prices fell sharply on Wednesday, reversing early gains to trade 2 per cent lower, after a report that US President Donald Trump discussed easing sanctions against Iran.
Brent crude, the international benchmark, was down 1.88 per cent at $61.21 a barrel by 5pm London time, having earlier traded as high as $63.27 a barrel. US crude was down 2.06 per cent at $56.22 a barrel.
The report by Bloomberg said Mr Trump has discussed reducing sanctions against Iran this week in order to help facilitate a meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the UN General Assembly later this month.
It follows the departure of National Security Adviser John Bolton from the White House on Tuesday, with the report saying the longtime Iran hawk had strongly opposed Mr Trump’s suggestion.
Oil prices had already fallen on Tuesday after Mr Bolton’s departure from the White House was announced, with traders betting it reduced the potential for conflict between the US and Iran.
Iran has so far said it will not meet with Mr Trump while sanctions on its oil exports remain in place.