Oil prices rise after Iran nuclear talks stall

LONDON (AFP) - Oil prices rose on Monday after marathon talks in Geneva aimed at convincing Iran to curb its disputed nuclear programme ended without an agreement.

Nevertheless, negotiators said they drew closer to a long-elusive deal with the major oil exporter.

Traders on Monday also digested bright economic data out of China, which is the world's top energy consuming nation.

New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for December delivery, gained 54 cents to US$95.14 (S$118.76) a barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for December climbed 88 cents to US$106 a barrel in late London trade.

After years of stalemate, recent progress in nuclear talks with world powers owes much to a dramatic shift in Teheran from a policy of stonewalling to one of constructive dialogue.

The progress in Geneva that saw negotiators close in on an agreement they have been seeking more than a decade came five months after President Hassan Rouhani, a relative moderate in the Islamic regime, took office after vowing a new approach.

The two sides failed to close a deal at the weekend, but the marathon talks saw the top US and Iranian diplomats meet for seven hours, a duration unprecedented for decades after the 1979 Iranian revolution.

The Islamic republic has been crippled by a series of UN, US and EU sanctions aimed at putting limits on its nuclear drive, which the West claims is being used to develop atomic weapons. Iran denies the assertion.

The P5+1 group of major powers - Britain, France, the United States, Russia, China plus Germany - plan to meet again with Iranian delegates on November 20 with the hope of securing a short-term deal that would freeze the country's nuclear activities while both sides work on a comprehensive agreement.

Over the weekend, meanwhile, data showed that China's industrial output grew by 10.3 per cent year-on-year in October.

Oil prices were supported at the end of last week by strong US job and growth figures exceeding forecasts and providing fresh evidence of a recovery in the world's biggest economy.