Trump to OPEC: ‘Reduce pricing now!’

Saudi Arabia's Minister of Energy Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid Al Falih speaks during a press conference with his Russian counterpart Alexander Novak at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in the capital Riyadh on Feb. 14 2018

Global outages overshadow underwhelming OPEC output hike

USA crude futures were down 58 cents at $73.56 per barrel by 12:00 p.m. EDT (1600 GMT), still in sight of Tuesday's 3-1/2-year high above $75.

West Texas Intermediate crude for August delivery traded at US$74.35 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, up 21 cents, at 10:43 am in London.

Oil held near US$74 (RM299) a barrel amid estimates that U.S. crude inventories declined for a fourth week, compounding concerns that global markets are growing increasingly tight.

The Iranian OPEC governor had on Thursday taunted Trump for his tweets urging OPEC to reduce prices, saying the USA president's tweets have backfired, having driven the prices up by at least $10 per barrel.

Iran's representative to OPEC says U.S. President Donald Trump should stop tweeting about wanting lower oil prices, saying that doing so has the opposite effect.

The U.S. bank warned that supply threats were "threatening a sharp further rise in prices and global economic growth".

US crude stockpiles rose 1.3 million barrels last week, according to US Energy Information Administration data.

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In an interview with state television, Iranian oil minister Bijan Zanganeh said: "Mr Trump sends every day a new message that creates uncertainty in the market".

The leader of Saudi Arabia, OPEC's biggest member, has assured Trump that the kingdom can raise oil production if needed, and that the country has 2 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.

The potential trade war between the United States and China comes amid a tight oil market. Global benchmark Brent LCOc1 was down 39 cents at $77 a barrel.

"The responsibility of paying unnecessary prices for oil by all consumers of the whole world, especially in USA gas stations, is exclusively upon your (Trump's) shoulders and the price of over $100 per barrel is yet to come", Kazempour said.

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.

USA tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese imports took effect as a deadline passed on Friday and Beijing has vowed to respond immediately in kind, setting the two world's biggest economies on a path toward a full-blown trade conflict.

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