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Oil up on supply concerns ahead of OPEC meeting

22 September 2018

US President Donald Trump on Thursday once again tweeted his belief that major oil producers in the Middle East were conspiring to keep oil prices high, and he seemed to threaten the withdrawal of military resources from the region if the OPEC cartel did not help to lower prices.

'We protect the countries of the Middle East, they would not be safe for very long without us, and yet they continue to push for higher and higher oil prices!

According to CNBC, oil prices reached over $70 a barrel on Wednesday, showing an increase of 8 percent in just the last month.

In July, the president sent a similar tweet, bemoaning prices at the pump, telling OPEC to "REDUCE PRICING NOW!".Later that month OPEC boosted production by 41,000 to 32.32 million barrels, as noted in OPEC's monthly report.

Trump has consistently complained that oil prices are too high, following a significant uptick in prices that has been passed on at the pump to U.S. drivers.

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.

'It's complicated. Saudi Arabia has to balance oil supply and demand, and it has to balance oil prices so they don't rise too much before the US elections, ' one OPEC source told Reuters.

Israel hits out at Iran after Syria friendly fire incident
It also said "new information" on the incident would "emerge soon", without elaborating. Israel has launched about 200 such raids in the last two years, Israeli officials say.

"It's also political because the Saudis don't want to pump too much oil then the Iranians complain to OPEC that [Saudi Arabia] is taking [Iran's] market share".

Prices dipped as low at $70 in London in August, but have since risen as American sanctions began to significantly curb Iran's oil exports.

Crude oil prices have been rising over the past year as a result of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' strategy to tighten supply.

Although supply worries have pushed up oil prices, Opec and its allies were not likely to agree to an official increase in crude output at this weekend's meeting, Opec sources said.

On the opposite side of the same blade, USA sanctions against Iran, due to come into effect in November, sees the United States attempting to force Iran out of global oil markets, seeing a firm bolstering effect on crude barrel costs globally as traders brace for a disruption of supply lines from the Middle East.

Stockpiles of distillate fuels, which include diesel and heating oil, rose by 1.5 million barrels, the API data showed, compared with expectations for a 651,000-barrel gain.

Meanwhile, ministers from OPEC nations and non-OPEC producers are set to meet on Sunday to discuss compliance with output policies.

Oil up on supply concerns ahead of OPEC meeting