Oil prices ease ahead of Iran nuclear talks

SINGAPORE (AFP) - Oil prices dipped in Asian trade Monday on profit-taking and ahead of fresh international talks on Iran's nuclear programme, analysts said.

New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for delivery in December, fell 31 cents to US$93.53 (S$116), while Brent North Sea crude for January was also down 31 cents at US$108.19.

"Iran is likely to be one of the factors," Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney, told AFP.

"Also I think it's a case of a relatively subdued beginning of the week news-wise," he added. "There's a little bit of profit-taking as we head head into a new week." Negotiations between Iran and the so-called P5+1 - Britain, France, the United States, Russia and China plus Germany - restart in Geneva on Wednesday after the last round failed to seal a deal.

Top diplomats insisted they were closing in on an interim agreement that would see Iran, a huge producer of oil, curb or freeze parts of its nuclear programme for some relief from crippling sanctions.

Israel and the West suspect Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons capability alongside its uranium enrichment programme, which Tehran insists is entirely for peaceful purposes.