January 20, 2019

Oil falls as Trump urges OPEC to reduce prices

07 July 2018, 11:46 | Joann Bryant

President Rouhani talks to Iranian expatriates in Bern Switzerland

President Rouhani talks to Iranian expatriates in Bern Switzerland

US crude futures slipped on Thursday after data showed an unexpected 1.3 million-barrel build in crude inventories.

On his Twitter, US President Donald Trump demanded the world's leading oil producing countries of OPEC to increase their oil production to stabilize oil markets with more supply as global energy prices are on the rise.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were at $74.60 a barrel at 0044 GMT, up 46 cents, or 0.6 percent, from their last settlement.

US crude futures fell $1.20 to settle at $72.94 a barrel, retreating from Tuesday's 3-1/2-year high of over $75.

"The OPEC monopoly must remember that gas prices are up and they are doing little to help". This must be a two way street.

Later speaking to Reuters, the Iranian declared that oil prices will rise to Dollars 100, and it will all be Trump's "fault".

- The price of US crude oil has shrugged off a demand by US President Donald Trump that OPEC cuts prices. Despite that key member Saudi Arabia is affirming that the group and its allies will boost output, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. warned that oil is likely to lead a new rally as the market faces significant supply risks from Venezuela to Iran. While Saudi Arabia is facing mounting pressure from Trump to do more, America's oil sanctions on Iran and trade frictions with China are adding to uncertainties with planned United States tariffs on Chinese goods set to start tomorow. While Trump says he wants lower oil prices, U.S. sanctions against OPEC members Iran and Venezuela are adding uncertainty to the market, causing prices to spike. Analysts however say that he cannot have both; the White House can either drive Iran's oil exports to zero, or it can have moderate USA gasoline prices, but it probably cannot have both. The kingdom faces intense political pressure as prices reach levels that threaten economic growth, and as American sanctions on Iranian oil exports require replacement barrels to prevent a supply squeeze.

But not all analysts foresee crude prices remaining at current levels: NAB said its oil price forecasts "point to Brent spending the next few months largely in the mid-to-high $70s [per barrel] range, although meaningful OPEC-Russia output increases could push prices lower later in the year and higher US shale production should impose an upside limit on West Texas Intermediate". The so-called "NOPEC Act" would make OPEC subject to antitrust law, allowing the go after OPEC for manipulating the oil market.

The winners from this carefully designed agreement are Saudi Arabia, Russia, and the Gulf countries.

Those other factors have not only driven up oil prices this year, they've also increased gasoline prices.

Financial institutions and experts have also pointed to Trump for driving up global prices. "Please stop this method", the Iranian oil ministry's news agency quotes Hossein Kazempour Ardebili as saying.

"They have to put out another 2 million barrels in my opinion", he said in the July 1 Fox interview. It's telling that this is his third provocation on oil prices since April.

Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest exporter with the largest amount of spare capacity, has given only a muted response to Trump.

Iran will stop oil exports from the Strait of Hormuz, the world's most important oil chokepoint, if the USA succeeds in halting crude sales from the Persian Gulf nation, according to a Revolutionary Guards official.

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