Iranian oil minister calls Trump's order to OPEC insulting

Alicia Cross
July 8, 2018

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 37 cents, or 0.5 percent, at $73.77 per barrel.

Hossein Kazempour Ardebili was quoted by the oil ministry's website Thursday as telling Trump to "please stop", adding that "with your frequent and indecent tweets oil prices have gone up 10 dollars".

Tehran blames rising prices on USA sanctions imposed on Iran and Venezuela, founding members of the cartel.

Brent crude, the global benchmark, was down 19 cents at $77.20 a barrel while US crude slipped 2 cents to $72.92.

The Obama administration had made a similar exception for countries such as India and China, the two largest buyers of Iranian crude, but the new regime under President Donald Trump is expected to be more heavy-handed with the implementation of sanctions when they kick in, largely because of its desire to increase pressure on Tehran for a regime change.

Oil held near US$74 (RM299) a barrel amid estimates that United States crude inventories declined for a fourth week, compounding concerns that global markets are growing increasingly tight.

"The more that Saudi Arabia adds to the market, the less of a supply cushion we have - that's a bullish twist to a bearish development", said Yawger at Mizuho.

Saudi Arabia's objective, revealed at the OPEC meeting in June, has been to stabilise production and prices around current levels. The contract added 20 cents on Tuesday, and there was no settlement Wednesday due to the U.S. holiday.

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The US envoy to the UN, Nikki Haley, indicated in her discussions with Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month that the US will work with India for the development of Chabahar port in Iran as part of a transport corridor that could boost trade in Afghanistan.

"The OPEC Monopoly must remember that gas prices are up & they are doing little to help", Trump wrote on his personal Twitter account.

USA crude inventories probably declined by 5 million barrels last week, according to a Bloomberg survey. Brent crude lost 38 cents to $77.84 a barrel.

The potential trade war between the United States and China comes amid a tight oil market.

Canadian oil prices are poised to continue their slow, steady march upward next year as shipping bottlenecks ease and USA refiners look north to fill the gap created by decreasing output from Venezuela, according to Deloitte.

"We will use a bartering system to exchange oil for goods".

USA tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese imports took effect as a deadline passed on Friday and Beijing has vowed to respond in kind.

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