Trump to OPEC: 'Reduce pricing now!'

US oil touches $75 amid fears Iran will block Middle East shipments

Jean Paul Pelissier Reuters

Iran's representative to OPEC, Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, replied on Thursday by blaming Trump.

US crude stockpiles are forecast to have declined 5 million barrels last week, according to a Bloomberg survey ahead of government data to be released on Thursday. Traders were looking for a draw of about 3.267 million barrels.

Trump believes OPEC can do more by by drawing on its spare - or idle - production capacity.

"In an ideal world an increase in global or regional oil production would have downward pressure on prices".

However, the rise was much smaller than the 9.89 million drop recorded the previous week and while crude prices fell on the news they soon moved off the day's lows.

In his bid to halt the flow of Iranian oil without raising prices, Trump has urged Saudi Arabia and other OPEC members to increase their output. The president said the USA defends many OPEC member states, insinuating that as a returned favor, these nations should cave to Washington's demands. "While OPEC's effect on oil prices remains notable, the commodity is also rising for other reasons", Trump said Wednesday on Twitter.

The OPEC Monopoly must remember that gas prices are up & they are doing little to help.

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Saudi Arabia has notably refrained from saying how big an output increase may happen.

Some experts have warned that prices could rise to more than $90 per barrel moving forward.

Iran, however, has responded with threats.

Ardebili has frequently shot back at Trump's tweets and public comments about the oil cartel.

President Trump has never been shy about tweeting on worldwide affairs, often putting his foot in his mouth.

"Iran's exports are some 2.7 million bpd, including condensate", it noted.

According to the AAA Fuel Gauge Survey, the national average price of gasoline is $2.86 a gallon, just a penny more than last week but eight cents less than a month ago.

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The figures come as stock market traders, farmers, and whiskey makers watch anxiously as the issue comes down to the wire. Trump's tariffs than impose reciprocal measures of their own, as long as there is any hope of negotiating a settlement.

Volatility in the Middle East and USA foreign policy can have a major impact on oil prices.

Oil was trading at over $78 per barrel of the Brent benchmark on Thursday, while US West Texas Intermediate was trading at $74.55.

The price of gasoline is a hardy perennial in presidential campaigns. However, high prices also hit businesses and consumers with more costs that are a drag on the United States economy. Many coutries have not committed to the United States ban, and if prices rise, Iran may ultimately take in just as much money even with fewer exports.

The president's call to "reduce pricing" was an apparent reference for oil producers to churn out more supply in order to contain spiking oil prices. In early trade, the contract rose to US$75.27, a 3-1/2-year high. "Gas prices are at insane levels - fire Obama!" he tweeted on October 12, 2012.

That wasn't the case when Obama negotiated with Iran. He persuaded nations to curtail purchases of Iranian oil to pressure Iran to agree to limits on its nuclear program.

On Wednesday, an Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander said Tehran might block oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz. S. oil has been 10 to 11 dollars.

Supply disruptions in Libya, Canada, and Venezuela and the Trump administration's pressure on global firms to stop importing oil from Iran are likely to continue to create upside pressure in crude oil prices.

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But oil experts say that OPEC is already close to its maximum capacity.

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