Trump’s tweets have added $10 to oil prices, Iran’s OPEC boss says

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

Oil has been buffeted lately as U.S. President Donald Trump - facing high retail gasoline prices ahead of midterm elections - pushes Saudi Arabia to boost output.

Oil was trading at over $78 per barrel of the Brent benchmark on Thursday, while US West Texas Intermediate was trading at $74.55. US crude futures were up 32 cents at $74.46, within sight of Tuesday's 3-1/2-year high above $75.

While Trump says he wants lower oil prices, United States sanctions against OPEC members Iran and Venezuela are adding uncertainty to the market, causing prices to spike.

If the Saudis are indeed prepared to cave to Trump, it creates an existential threat to OPEC which may see Iran and other members quit immediately, if Riyadh has made a unilateral decision to pump more. If anything, they are driving prices higher as the United States defends many of their members for very little $'s.

Oil will soon cost $100 per barrel due to supply disruptions caused by U.S. President Donald Trump, Iran's OPEC Governor told Reuters on Thursday, as he warned expectations that Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation would help bring down prices were in vain. This must be a two way street. Many coutries have not committed to the U.S. ban, and if prices rise, Iran may ultimately take in just as much money even with fewer exports.

A Reuters survey estimated USA crude oil stockpiles fell for a fourth consecutive week, by about 3.3 million barrels, in the week ended June 29.

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USA light crude CLc1 settled up 20 cents at $74.14 a barrel, rebounding from a session low of $72.73 a barrel.

Oil prices have gained over three per cent since Opec and allies announced on June 22 to raise output to meet production caps set in 2016.

Vijay Valecha, chief market analyst at Century Financial Brokers, said the UAE's crude oil production peaked in October 2016 at 3.13 million bpd and has declined since then in line with the Opec production cuts.

Iran has threatened to block oil exports through a key Gulf waterway in retaliation against any hostile USA action. "Please stop this method", the Iranian oil ministry's news agency, SHANA, quoted Kazempour as saying.

"Just spoke to King Salman of Saudi Arabia and explained to him that, because of the turmoil & disfunction (sic) in Iran and Venezuela, I am asking that Saudi Arabia increase oil production, maybe up to 2,000,000 barrels, to make up the difference..." While OPEC is facing mounting pressure from Trump to do more, America's sanctions on group members Iran and Venezuela are adding uncertainties, just as U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods kick in on Friday.

In post-settlement trade, prices extended gains after the American Petroleum Institute said crude stockpiles had fallen more than expected last week.

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