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05 July 2018, 04:13 | Joann Bryant
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SAUL LOEB AFP Getty Images
Turkish authorities were the first to downplay sanctions, when Ibrahim Colin, spokesman for Turkish President Erdo?an, said that Turkey does not accept the USA threat and it will not adhere to US sanctions on banning oil imports from Iran and it will act according to its economy's interests.
The White House said Saturday that King Salman had promised President Donald Trump that he would raise oil production if needed. "REDUCE PRICING NOW!" Trump wrote on Twitter.
Trump has been pressing OPEC to increase its oil production in recent weeks, faulting the cartel for recent increases in prices.
"In an ideal world an increase in global or regional oil production would have downward pressure on prices".
Saudi Arabia, which has been pumping about 10 million barrels per day, holds the largest spare capacity in the world and is the only country that can add substantial supply to the market.
Former Shell Oil President John Hofmeister on the outlook for oil prices.
In May, oil prices rose to around $80 per barrel, compared to less than $30 a barrel early 2016, when OPEC countries led by Saudi Arabia and non-OPEC producers agreed to cut output. That means just three countries, Russia, the United States and Saudi Arabia, meet a third of global oil demand.
But the USA official, Brian Hook, also said that keeping prices stable in the absence of Iranian crude is also important. Higher prices could well bring on a recession in the U.S., which would damage GOP chances in the upcoming elections this fall for the U.S. Congress.
OPEC together with a group of non-OPEC producers led by Russian Federation started to withhold output in 2017 to prop up prices.
Ardebili also claimed that Trump's words are "discrediting" OPEC. But with inventories already below five-year averages and little spare capacity available, oil markets look set to tighten.
The escalating trade row between Washington and Beijing, which triggered another sell-off in Asian stocks on Thursday, was also felt in oil markets, with China warning it could introduce duties on US crude imports at an as yet unspecified date. The U.S. market will not have a settlement price due to the U.S. Independence Day holiday.
That kind of talk is part of a broader game Saudi Arabia played to master the oil market.
Saudi Arabia's cabinet on Tuesday endorsed the kingdom's readiness to pump more oil to maintain market balance and stability, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said.
An Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander, meanwhile, said on Wednesday that Tehran might block oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz, a major route for transporting crude in the Gulf.
"A good chunk of the rally that we've had in the last month or so we've had is because of the Iranian sanctions", Smith says.
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