Crude oil futures were lower during mid-morning trade in Asia Monday ahead of the US and China trade talks this week. At 11:00 am in Singapore (0300 GMT), ICE Brent December futures were down 27 cents/b (0.46%) from Friday’s settle at $58.10/b, while the NYMEX November light sweet crude futures contract was 16 cents/b (0.30%) lower at $52.65/b.

“Asia markets can be seen broaching the week with moderate positivity following optimistic views over the weekend on US-China trade talks,” IG’s market strategist Jingyi Pan said in a note Monday.  “This is with President Donald Trump suggesting a ‘very good chance’ of a deal alongside news of China seeing narrower scope for a deal thereby boosting the chances of a constructive outcome.”

Meanwhile, Iran is using “every method” to export its crude in the face of US sanctions, the country’s oil minister Bijan Zanganeh said Sunday.  “We use every method. We make our best effort to export oil and will not give up,” according to Iranian oil ministry’s news service, Shana, quoting Zanganeh in his interview with Sputnik. Oil exports are Iran’s “legitimate right,” Zanganeh added.  He also said that, “Brent crude oil is currently on a steady level and I believe there is no significant jump ahead.”

Separately, the minister noted that Iran’s Petropars will now develop Phase 11 of the country’s $4.8 billion South Pars gas project after China’s CNPC pulled out of the project.  “The phase 11 of South Pars gas field has been decided. Petropars alone will continue development of this phase,” according to Shana, quoting Zanganeh.  CNPC was supposed to take Total’s 50.1% stake in the project on top of its initial 30% share, after the French firm abandoned the deal last year amid looming US sanctions on Tehran.