Oil slips towards $77 as Saudi boost, trade tensions weigh

Virginia Carson
July 9, 2018

Saudi Arabia's state-run oil giant cut its prices on Thursday for first time since February after President Donald Trump lashed out at OPEC for rising USA gas prices.

United Press International reports in its article Iran blames Trump for the spike in oil prices that U.S. President Donald Trump continues to put pressure on U.S. allies in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

"The OPEC Monopoly must remember that gas prices are up & they are doing little to help". Some members should remember that the United States is defending them for little reciprocal benefits, he added.

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Michael Cohen, Head of Energy Commodities Research at Barclays, said the market was now "caught between two forces".

The Republican president has lashed out at the petroleum group in recent weeks.

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Oil was mixed on Friday, with short-covering pushing up US crude futures while Brent slipped on global trade tensions and increased Saudi production.

Top exporter Saudi Arabia told Opecit raised oil output by nearly 500,000 barrels per day last month, Opecsources said, a sign Riyadh wants to make up for shortages elsewhere and dampen prices. Off-topic, inappropriate or insulting comments will be removed.

"Roughly 30% of all seaborne oil is transported through this strait every day", Commerzbank said in a note.

US oil futures surged past $75/bbl on Tuesday for the first time since 2014. "Please stop using this method".

But strong personal relationships between the leaders and agreement on the overall deal obscure disagreement on some key details, not least the desirable level for oil prices.

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Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (L) receives US President Donald Trump for the Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 21, 2017.

Traders also debated when production would restart at Syncrude Canada's 360,000 barrels per day (bpd) oil sands facility near Fort McMurray, Alberta, hit by a power outage last month and likely to remain offline through July.

Gasoline stocks fell 1.5 million barrels, compared with expectations in a Reuters poll for a 817,000-barrel drop.

"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 Ardebili told Reuters.

Brent crude was up 46 cents at US$77.76 a barrel, after trading as low as US$76.67 and as high as US$78.85. While the comments were ambiguous, Iranian officials in the past have threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, a major oil shipping route, in retaliation for any hostile U.S. action.

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The rise in benchmark USA crude prices from a low of less than $30 a barrel in February 2016 to more than $70 in July 2018 has boosted the economies of Texas, Oklahoma, North Dakota and other producing states.

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