Oil Fluctuates as Saudis Pledge More Crude

Oil futures traders work on the floor of the New York Mercantile Exchange in this file

Oil traded near its highest in three and half years on Thursday, boosted by potential disruptions to flows from Iran and the Middle East as U. S. President Donald Trump says OPEC should cut prices. Some members should remember that the United States is defending them for little reciprocal benefits, he added.

On June 30, Trump said Saudi Arabia had pledged to increase its oil output by two million barrels per day "to compensate for falling output in Venezuela and Iran", Xinhua news agency reported.

"With contentious midterm United States 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.

Earlier, Kazempour Ardebili had said that Trump's pressure on global firms not to buy Iranian oil would drive prices higher and end up hurting the American economy.

"Please stop it, otherwise it will go even higher".

Iran has threatened to block oil exports through a key Gulf waterway in retaliation against any hostile US action.

Oil fell on Thursday after US government data showed an unexpected build in crude oil stockpiles.

Data released Thursday by the US Department of Energy showed stockpiles unexpectedly higher: up by 1.25 million barrels in the week to June 29 rather than the 3.54 million fall expected by analysts.




The U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate was $73.22 a barrel, down 1.24 percent.

At 08:23 a.m. EDT today, WTI Crude was down 0.78 percent at $72.37, and Brent Crude traded down 1.23 percent at $76.44.

- The price of US crude oil has shrugged off a demand by US President Donald Trump that OPEC cuts prices. "Perhaps one of the US president's advisors should explain this to him", the German financial institution added.

Oil prices dropped early on Friday as fears of the escalating U.S.

USA crude stockpiles are forecast to have declined 5 million barrels last week, according to a Bloomberg survey ahead of government data to be released on Thursday. Suggesting that OPEC countries should produce more crude oil to increase supply and lower prices if they want to keep America's strategic partnership, he said: "This must be a two-way street".

Saudi Arabia also said it would reduce the official selling price of its August barrels.

Brent crude futures fell 25 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $77.14 per barrel by 0317 GMT from their last close.

Last month, Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation agreed to increase production and the USA continues to produce at record levels, however, unless there is a drop in demand, it appears we are headed toward a supply deficit later this year.

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