Trump slams OPEC urging oil cartel to "get prices down now"

24 September, 2018, 02:26 | Author: Gerard Cortez
  • Oil prices fall amid surprise growth in U.S. crude stocks

US President Donald Trump on Thursday once again tweeted his belief that major oil producers in the Middle East were conspiring to keep oil prices high, and he seemed to threaten the withdrawal of military resources from the region if the OPEC cartel did not help to lower prices.

Oil prices rose on Friday ahead of a meeting of oil cartel Opec and other large crude exporters that will focus on production increases as U.S. sanctions restrict Iranian exports.

USA crude oil stockpiles fell for a fifth straight week to 3-1/2 year lows in the week to September 14, while gasoline inventories also showed a larger than expected draw on unseasonably strong demand, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday. USA light crude oil was up 30 cents at $71.42 a barrel after rising almost 2% on Wednesday.

Trump weighed into the debate via Twitter, saying "The OPEC monopoly must get prices down now!"

Among the countries capable of increasing production beyond current levels, Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation hold about three quarters of the spare capacity, according to Bloomberg calculations using data from the International Energy Agency. High oil prices have pulled up the domestic oil price in the U.S.

Trump's tweet makes sense "with oil prices close to the highs of the year", said Giovanni Staunovo, commodity analyst at UBS Group AG.

Markets Insider
Markets Insider

For the same period, analysts expected crude inventories to decrease by about 2.7 million barrels. Specifically, helping to underpin prices is another drawdown in USA inventories and strong US gasoline demand.

According to AAA, the current national average pump price per gallon of regular gasoline is $2.843, up less than a penny from $2.839 a week ago and virtually unchanged compared with the month-ago price.

Going forward, the EIA expects the Brent-WTI spread to continue to be the primary factor in the East Coast's domestic crude oil purchases.

Additionally, crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, futures delivery hub fell 1.25 million barrels, EIA data showed.

The comments come just ahead of this weekend's meeting of a committee monitoring the supply pact between OPEC, Russia and some other non-OPEC producers.

Industry sources familiar with Saudi oil plans say state energy giant Aramco can raise output quickly to 11 million bpd, but reaching 12 million bpd could take up to six months.

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