January 20, 2019

Oil climbs despite Trump’s call for OPEC to reduce pricing

05 July 2018, 08:54 | Joann Bryant

Oil prices climb on tightening US market

Saudi Arabia's Minister of Energy Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid Al Falih speaks during a press conference with his Russian counterpart Alexander Novak at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in the capital Riyadh on Feb. 14 2018

On July 4 (which, as a reminder, is the anniversary of that time 563 years ago when Trump's ancestors liberated Manhattan from a cabal of nefarious Chinese overlords who were conspiring with European monarchs to unfairly tax Ford F-150 exports), the President did what every other president before him has done on Independence Day: He sent a 280-character, all-caps letter to OPEC demanding lower oil prices.

Oil was trading at over $78 per barrel of the Brent benchmark on Thursday, while US West Texas Intermediate was trading at $74.55.

Oil futures were climbing on Thursday, with USA crude hovering at its highest in about 3-1/2 years as supply disruptions continue to support the market.

Trump tweeted Wednesday: "The OPEC Monopoly must remember that gas prices are up & they are doing little to help".

The war of words over oil prices continues between US President Donald Trump and Iran, and the latest salvo from Iran is for Trump to stop tweeting.

"This must be a two way street", he wrote, adding in block capitals, "REDUCE PRICING NOW!"

The average price of gasoline in the USA has risen above $3 per gallon. The company said it can pump as much as 3.3 million barrels per day and will boost output to 3.5 million barrels a day by the end of 2018.

Matthew Smith, the director of commodity research at ClipperData, told UPI that oil prices so far this week are moving on one hand on OPEC pledges of more production, but correcting later on fears of supply-side strains.

Last month, Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation agreed to increase production and the USA continues to produce at record levels, however, unless there is a drop in demand, it appears we are headed toward a supply deficit later this year. There have been supply outages in Venezuela, Libya, Canada, Angola, Iran, and Kazakhstan, according to the trade publication Oil Price.

Vijay Valecha, chief market analyst at Century Financial Brokers, said the UAE's crude oil production peaked in October 2016 at 3.13 million bpd and has declined since then in line with the Opec production cuts. It has made similar threats in the past, prior to the 2015 nuclear deal.

But Tehran has threatened to take drastic action on the oil supply in retaliation against Trump's attempt to curb its exports. It is the sole sea passage connecting the Persian Gulf to the open ocean and is used to transport oil to the world. "Please stop this method", the Iranian oil ministry's news agency, SHANA, quoted Kazempour as saying.

"As a result, American consumers would have to pay the price of Trump's unilateralism at gas stations".

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