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Trump, Iran spar over oil prices ahead of OPEC meeting | World

A flag with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) emblem is seen earlier than a information convention at OPEC’s headquarters in Vienna, Austria, December 10, 2016. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader/Files

WASHINGTON/LONDON: US President Donald Trump and Iran exchanged sharp phrases over oil prices on Wednesday, with Trump blaming OPEC for top oil prices and Tehran accusing him of stoking volatility after he withdrew final month from a world nuclear arms cope with Iran.

Trump sparked the newest back-and-forth when he renewed his assault on OPEC in a tweet that mentioned oil prices are too excessive and that the cartel was “at it again.”

Oil prices have risen round 60 % over the final 12 months after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and a few non-OPEC producers, together with Russia, began decreasing provides in 2017. The cartel meets June 22-23 in Vienna, and producers are seen as prone to elevate manufacturing, maybe earlier than the bounds are as a result of sundown at year-end.

Iran’s OPEC governor, Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, fired again at Trump in an announcement to Reuters. “You cannot place sanctions on two OPEC founder members and still blame OPEC for oil price volatility,” he mentioned, referring to his nation and Venezuela.

“This is business, Mr. President — we thought you knew it.”

The oil provide deal is about to proceed via the tip of 2018, however plans for its continuation had been unclear. The calculus modified after Trump introduced in May that Washington was pulling out of the 2015 deal that restricted Iran’s nuclear program in trade for the elimination of sanctions.

The US transfer has pressured European and Asian purchasers to cease importing Iranian oil or doing enterprise with the nation. Saudi Arabia, Iran’s rival and OPEC’s largest producer, and Russia, the world’s largest producer and a celebration to the deal, have already elevated provide. Saudi Arabia supported Trump’s determination to exit the Iran nuclear settlement.

“I think the Trump tweet makes the Saudis’ job of getting compromise at the OPEC meeting tougher,” mentioned Joe McMonigle, senior vitality coverage analyst at Hedgeye Potomac Research in Washington.

Saudi manufacturing rose to 10.03 million barrels per day (bpd in May, in step with deal quotas, in accordance with OPEC information. Russia’s manufacturing was 11.1 million barrels a day originally of June, exceeding its quota, in accordance with sources conversant in the matter.

The worth of Brent crude peaked in May at $80.50 a barrel, then pulled again, buying and selling on Wednesday close to $77 a barrel, partly in anticipation that the deal could finish. US crude traded Wednesday close to $67 a barrel.

“Oil prices are too high, OPEC is at it again. Not good!” Trump wrote in his submit on Twitter after final elevating the problem in April.

The potential for OPEC to spice up manufacturing has raised considerations concerning the cartel’s restricted spare capability, which might fall to as little as 2 million bpd. This would make it tougher to answer a provide shock, resembling in Venezuela, the place output has declined to a 33-year-low as a result of an financial disaster.

“OPEC has the lowest spare capacity ever right now,” mentioned fund supervisor Pierre Andurand, in a tweeted response to Trump. “There is going to be a real issue,” he wrote, predicting prices above $150 per barrel inside two years.

In the United States, gasoline pump prices nationwide have risen to close $three a gallon through the peak summer season journey season, nonetheless lower than the $four a gallon through the 2007-2009 Great Recession. Gasoline demand has remained sturdy, rising to an estimated 9.9 million bpd as of final week, in accordance with US Energy Department information.

Trump despatched his tweet hours after returning to Washington from a summit with North Korean chief Kim Jong Un in Singapore.

Separately, a bipartisan group of lawmakers within the US House of Representatives was pushing laws that might topic OPEC to US antitrust regulation and struggle what the group referred to as synthetic manufacturing controls.

The measure must go the total House and the US Senate earlier than Trump might signal it into regulation. Past presidents haven’t supported comparable payments once they have been proposed.

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