Despite Trump’s Demand for Reduction, Oil Price Nears Three-year High

President Trump had been asking for oil price reduction.

“The OPEC monopoly must remember that gas prices are up & they are doing little to help. If anything, they are driving prices higher as the United States defends many of their members for very little $’s. This must be a two way street. REDUCE PRICING NOW!” Trump wrote on Twitter.

But oil price edged lower Thursday but still stood not far from its highest in the last three and a half years, boosted by potential disruptions in Iran and the Middle East, despite the fresh demand from Trump that OPEC cut prices.

Trump’s comment is coming as the Swiss commodities trader and a major exporter of Nigeria’s crude oil, Glencore said it would buy back shares worth up to $1 billion in a programme of purchases that would run to the end of 2018

The US Republican president has lashed out at OPEC in recent weeks as rising oil prices could create a political headache for him before November mid-term congressional elections by offsetting Republican claims that his tax cuts and roll-backs of federal regulations have helped boost the country’s economy.

In an earlier tweet on Saturday, Trump said Saudi Arabia had agreed to increase oil output by up to two million barrels, an assertion that the White House rowed back on in a subsequent statement.

Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s biggest member, has assured Trump that the kingdom can raise oil production if needed and that the country has two million barrels per day of spare capacity that could be deployed to help cool oil prices to compensate for falling output in Venezuela and Iran.

Trump has been complaining about OPEC at the same time that Washington is piling pressure on its European allies to stop buying Iranian oil.

Reuters reported that the Iranian OPEC Governor Hossein Kazempour Ardebili said Thursday that Trump had raised oil prices through his tweets.

“Your tweets have increased the prices by at least $10. Please stop this method,” the Iranian oil ministry’s news agency, SHANA, quoted Kazempour as saying.

However, oil edged lower Thursday but still stood not far from its highest level in three and a half years, boosted by potential disruptions to flows from Iran and the Middle East despite a fresh demand from Trump.

While the global benchmark, Brent crude futures were at $77.99 per barrel, the US crude futures were also down at $73.89, not far from Tuesday’s three and a half year high above $75.

OPEC, together with a group of non-OPEC producers led by Russia started to withhold output in 2017 to prop up the market.

Recent price rises have also been spurred by a US announcement that it plans to reintroduce sanctions against Iran from November, targeting oil exports.

OPEC and Russia said in June they were willing to raise output to address concerns of supply shortages due to unplanned disruptions from Venezuela to Libya, and likely also to replace a potential fall in Iranian supplies due to US sanctions.

Despite these measures, Goldman Sachs said in a July 4 note to clients that “the market will remain in deficit” in the second half of the year.

Meanwhile, commodities trader and a major exporter of Nigerian crude, Glencore said Thursday it would buy back shares worth up to $1 billion in a programme of purchases that would run to the end of 2018.

This Day

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