Iran's oil minister has hit back at Trump over production demands

U.S. President Donald Trump again accused the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries of driving gas prices higher on Twitter on July 4 and urged the oil cartel's members to do more.

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.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $74.60 a barrel at 0044 GMT, up 46 cents, or 0.6 percent, from their last settlement.

Top exporter Saudi Arabia told OPEC it raised oil output by nearly 500,000 barrels per day last month, OPEC sources said, a sign Riyadh wants to make up for shortages elsewhere and dampen prices. If anything, they are driving prices higher as the USA defends many of their members for very little $'s.

"If Trump continues to believe that OPEC are not doing enough, we would not rule out a SPR (Strategic Petroleum Reserve) release from the USA, or possibly even export restrictions on petroleum products", ING said, in a note.

"With contentious midterm USA elections looming, the President continues to strong-arm Saudi Arabia to increase oil supplies which, at least for now, is containing price action below WTI $75 per barrel", said Stephen Innes, Head of Trading for Asia/Pacific at futures brokerage OANDA.

Saudi Arabia had political reasons to respond positively to Trump's request, given its animosity to arch-rival Iran, which Trump is trying to bring to its knees through strict new sanctions. OPEC and its allies, namely Russian Federation, had agreed in a June meeting to effectively raise output by 1 million barrels a day to help counteract lost barrels from Venezuela and Iran.

Meanwhile, US crude oil production has soared by 30 percent in the last two years, to 10.9 million bpd.

Output cuts by OPEC and allies since January 2017 have reduced a crude glut.

Recent price rises have also been spurred by a USA announcement that it plans to re-introduce sanctions against Iran from November, which will also target its oil industry.

The US Navy stands ready to ensure freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce, a spokesman for the US military's Central Command said.


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