Sunday, 21 October, 2018

Oil steady as Trump tweet slows surge upwards

Oil prices fall amid surprise growth in U.S. crude stocks Trump Presses OPEC to Reduce Prices as Crude Trades Near $80
Jodi Jackson | 23 September, 2018, 19:03

President Donald Trump blasted OPEC in a tweet Thursday morning, saying the Middle East wouldn't be safe without USA military protection and yet, countries there continue to keep prices high.

Earlier in the session, prices jumped after a report said that OPEC and non-OPEC countries pumped less oil in August compared with July due to a drop in Iranian crude supply.

On Wednesday, WTI increased 1.8 percent to settle at 71.12 USA dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for November delivery increased 0.5 percent to settle at 79.40 dollars a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange.

Saudi Arabia is now comfortable with Brent oil prices rising above $80 a barrel, at least in the short term, as the global market adjusts to the loss of Iranian supply, people familiar with the kingdom's view said this week.

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.

OPEC members will meet this weekend with non-OPEC producers such as Russian Federation to discuss production levels.

It comes after the development of fracking led to a boom in shale oil production while massively reducing drilling costs.The figures are based on preliminary estimates published by the US Energy Information Administration last week.

Trump has earlier called for members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries - primarily cartel kingpin and United States ally Saudi Arabia - to raise their production, and warned importers to stop buying oil from Iran or face USA sanctions.

US sanctions on Iran's oil exports come into force on November 4 and many buyers have already scaled back Iranian purchases.

Trump sent several tweets stating that prices are too high after Brent rose to a three-year high in May.

The milestone was made possible in large part by higher oil prices, which allowed America's shale oil producers to ramp up output.

With the caveat that it's quite possible to over-interpret Trump's tweets, today's action underscores the tricky oil politics facing the White House.

Here is a look at how share prices for two blue-chip stocks and two exchange-traded funds reacted to this latest report. The EIA said the United States likely now leads the world in crude oil production, moving past Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation.

Iran is already seeing many customers cut their purchases in advance of the sanctions deadline for fear of being hit with United States penalties.

Under pressure from the US president, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and other allies agreed in June to boost production by 1 million barrels per day, having participated in a supply-cutting deal since 2017.

"BNP Paribas oil strategist Harry Tchilinguirian told 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".

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