Crude futures fell but held above US$70 a barrel Friday, anchored by strong fuel demand, refinery glitches and jitters about the unresolved tension between the West and Iran.
Iran's deputy nuclear negotiator, Javad Vaeidi, has rejected freezing uranium enrichment as a precondition for talks, but held out the possibility that negotiations on its nuclear program could result in such a moratorium - a stance Teheran has repeated in the previous weeks.
Even a rise in crude inventories in the US government's latest petroleum supply report did not work to curb already-inflated prices, as traders seemed more worried about the smaller-than-expected build in gasoline supplies, which came at a time when refineries were boosting production for the Northern Hemisphere summer driving season.
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