Trump to OPEC: 'Reduce pricing now!'

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09 July, 2018

Saudi Arabia cut pricing for August sales of its light oil grade to Asia as the world's biggest crude exporter is increasing production to assure buyers there is sufficient supply following US President Donald Trump's demands that OPEC do more to stabilize oil markets. His latest was a reminder that the USA defends many OPEC members for "very little" money. Riyadh has the spare capacity to help meet any additional demand in the market, but has stopped short of saying it will immediately start adding the full two million barrels per day.

Oil was mixed on Friday as a Canadian supply outage supported US crude prices, while an increase in production from OPEC's biggest exporter Saudi Arabia pushed Brent lower. Speaking Thursday, Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, the Iranian governor to OPEC, said the USA president was ill-informed on OPEC policies.

"Your tweets have driven the prices up by at least $10 per barrel", Iran's OPEC governor Hossein Kazempour Ardebili said the message, Bloomberg reported, citing the Iranian Oil Ministry's Shana news service.

Ardebili told Reuters that Trump "should have expected" when blocking Iran's access to the global markets that it would end up as "hostage (to) Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation", who he said had little vested interest in bringing down prices.

In May, the USA retreated from a multilateral deal with Iran regarding its nuclear disarmament program, and imposed sanctions to limit the world's fourth largest oil exporter's access to global markets.

Oil fell on Thursday after USA government data showed an unexpected build in crude oil stockpiles.

US crude inventories fell by 4.5 million barrels (MMBbl), to 416.9 MMBbl in the week ended June 29, the American Petroleum Institute (API) said Tuesday.

West Texas Intermediate was down 1.2% to $73.30 a barrel.

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The latter have soared in the last two years to around 400,000 barrels per day in July, worth around $1 billion at current market prices.

Chinese stocks fell sharply on Tuesday, with equity markets in Asia near nine-month lows as investors fear the Sino-U.S. trade row could derail a rare period of synchronized global growth. Suggesting that OPEC countries should produce more crude oil to increase supply and lower prices if they want to keep America's strategic partnership, he said: "This must be a two-way street".

Kazempour said Trump was trying to intensify tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Trump wrote on Twitter on Independence Day.

The U.S. government is lobbying Iranian oil importers, including China and India, and "asking them to go to zero, absolutely yes", according to a U.S.

OPEC and Russian Federation 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 USA sanctions.

An executive from China's Dongming Petrochemical Group said he expected Beijing to soon impose the tariff on USA oil imports.

Oil was mixed on Friday, with short-covering pushing up USA crude futures while Brent slipped on global trade tensions and increased Saudi production. Analysts had expected a 4.4 million barrel drawdown.


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