Trump says Opec producers must bring prices down

23 September, 2018, 18:58 | Author: Teresa Adams
  • Oil prices fall amid surprise growth in U.S. crude stocks

U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday issued a fresh call for Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to lower crude prices, saying the United States was providing Middle Eastern energy giants with security and hence in turn these countries should provide relief.

Analysts argued that the continued drawdowns in oil stockpiles, even though we are past the summer driving season, are a result of increased USA crude oil exports, which have been supported by the widening differential between USA benchmark WTI prices and the global benchmark, Brent crude.

While Iran's exports have moved in Trump's favor, the president faces the predicament of wanting oil prices to come down before USA midterm elections on November 6.

At the same time, Trump will reimpose sanctions on Iran later this year as part of his decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal, potentially removing a significant oil supplier from the market.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for October delivery price settled 1.8 percent higher with the support of high USA crude oil exports information released by EIA.

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And just as inevitably, oil prices pulled back slightly as the brash billionaire tweeted his displeasure on Thursday: Brent settled down 78 cents at $78.70 per barrel, while West Texas Intermediate settled down 32 cents at $70.80 per barrel - after rising almost 2 percent in the previous session.

In the previous session, Brent rose 1.3 percent on a media report that Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter, was comfortable with prices above $80, indicating the producer would not try to increase output to drive prices lower.

With oil prices hovering around $80/b amid indications that Saudi Arabia sees a price rise in the months ahead as inevitable, the group finds itself with a tough balancing game on its hands.

USA crude oil imports averaged 8.02 million barrels per day last week, 433,000 barrels per day higher than the levels of the previous week.

It is unclear how easily other producers, such as Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Russian Federation, can compensate for lost supply. "But this is likely going to break very soon".

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"BNP Paribas oil strategist Harry Tchilinguirian agreed, telling Reuters Global Oil Forum: "$80-per-barrel Brent is a psychological level, and unsurprisingly, as we approach it, it gets sold into as some market participants take profit".

Crude inventories fell 2.1 million barrels (Mmbbl) in the week ended September 14, to 394.1 Mmbbl - the lowest level since February 2015 - the Energy Information Administration reported. A Bloomberg survey of analysts forecasts a 2.5-million-barrel decline in nationwide inventories.

USA sanctions on Iran's oil exports come into force on November 4.

Gordon Gray-HSBC's global head of oil and gas equity research-says that oil market assets are progressively more supportive for crude prices, at least presently.

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