Sunday, 24 June, 2018

Trump renews attack on OPEC ahead of group's production meeting

Oil prices drop as supplies increase Iran, Venezuela supply gap to dominate OPEC meet: IEA
Laurie Berry | 13 June, 2018, 23:15

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Traders are holding their breath for the June 22 meeting of oil ministers from Opec member states in Vienna.

Oil prices edged higher on Wednesday, turning positive after US government data showed a bigger weekly draw than expected in domestic crude inventories along with unexpected declines in gasoline and distillate stocks.

Since early in 2017, however, OPEC has coordinated with Russian Federation, another oil-exporting country that is not an OPEC member, to try to regulate global supplies. The cartel is meeting next week, where it will consider pulling back from the deal.

"The Trump administration is trying to intervene in the affairs of a sovereign organization", Iran's OPEC governor, Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, said in an interview. "You can not place sanctions on two OPEC founder members and still blame OPEC for oil price volatility", he said in a statement to Reuters, referring to itself and Venezuela.

Saudi Arabia last month signaled it was ready to boost output in the second half of the year to ease consumer anxiety about higher prices, a policy U-turn for the kingdom that only weeks earlier advocated for production restraint.

Pompeo downplays feud between USA and G7 allies
The summit was seen as an opportunity to overcome disagreements on new tariffs imposed by the U.S. on imports. There were two crucial points that didn't satisfy the United States delegation, the Canadian media points out.

They must also contend with President Donald Trump, who used his Twitter account on Wednesday to attack OPEC for artificially inflating prices. Others, notably Venezuela, have experienced involuntary declines in production due to problems in their oil industries. The calculus changed, however, after Trump announced in May that the United States was pulling out of the 2015 deal that restricted Iran's nuclear program in exchange for the removal of sanctions.

The Schork Report Publisher Stephen Schork on the outlook for oil prices.

"An output increase by the four main producers (Kuwait, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and UAE) looks inevitable", Ed Morse, head of commodities research at Citigroup Inc.in NY, said in a note to clients.

OPEC is the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, a group of 14 oil-producing nations that had agreed to tighten supply to shore up crude prices.

To make up for the losses, the IEA estimated that Middle East Opec countries could increase production in fairly short order by about 1.1 million bpd.

Oil prices turned positive on Wednesday after a bigger-than-expected decline in USA crude inventories along with surprise drawdowns in gasoline and distillates indicated strong demand in the world's top oil consumer. Prices nationwide have edged up toward $3 a gallon as the US hits its peak summer travel season, still less than the $4 a gallon in 2008 during the 2007-2009 Great Recession. Trump tweeted in April.

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