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'Please stop' tweeting about oil, Iran tells Trump

07 July 2018

The war of words over oil prices continues between US President Donald Trump and Iran, and the latest salvo from Iran is for Trump to stop tweeting. Trump points out the U.S. defends OPEC members for a "very little" amount of money. OPEC members agreed June 23 to increase crude oil output by pumping 1 million barrels more daily, but it is still unclear how much of the oil produced would ease off prices in a period-the northern hemisphere's summer-generally associated with high oil demand. Rising gasoline prices could create a political headache for Trump before November mid-term congressional elections by offsetting Republican claims that his tax cuts and rollbacks of federal regulations have helped boost the US economy.

"Your tweets have driven the prices up by at least US$10 per barrel", Iran's OPEC governor Hossein Kazempour Ardebili said in a message to Trump, carried by Iranian Oil Ministry's Shana news service.

Earlier, Kazempour Ardebili had said that Trump's pressure on worldwide firms not to buy Iranian oil would drive prices higher and end up hurting the American economy. Any time there's talk of increased production or even a suggestion, prices tend to go down. Iran is OPEC's third biggest oil producer, and other OPEC members range from Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates in the Middle East to Venezuela and Ecuador in South America.

Ardebili declared, "OPEC has not defined oil prices for the past 30 years". The American Petroleum Institute, an industry body, was said to report that stockpiles fell by 4.51 million barrels.

A US government report also weighed on prices this week, showing crude stockpiles rose by 1.3 million barrels, while analysts had forecast a decline.

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Trump tweeted Wednesday pointing fingers at "the OPEC Monopoly" for "driving prices higher".

USA tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese imports took effect as a deadline passed on Friday and Beijing has vowed to respond immediately in kind, setting the two world's biggest economies on a path toward a full-blown trade conflict. This must be a two-way street.

Kazempour accused Trump of trying to ramp up tensions between Iran and its regional rival, Saudi Arabia.

OPEC, together with a group of non-OPEC producers led by Russian Federation, reduced output in 2017 to prop up the market.

The growing U.S. pressure on the world to totally stop buying Iranian oil has produced a warning from top Iranian officials that the world economy, and America's economy in particular, would pay a severe price from such a ban.

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Brent crude futures lost 85 cents to settle at $77.39 a barrel. The U.S.is hoping to take 2.5 mb/d of Iranian exports offline, which is about as much as the theoretical spare capacity that Saudi Arabia has left.

"If they want to stop Iranian oil exports, we will not allow any oil shipment to pass through the Strait of Hormuz", Ismail Kowsari was quoted as saying.

Venezuelan production fell to 1.36 million bpd by June, compared to just under 2.5 million bpd at the start of previous year, amid a structural underinvestment in the country.

Oil prices climbed down from their 3 ½ year high to reach US$73 per barrel, with Brent trading at US$76.96 Tuesday afternoon. US refineries produced about 10.3 million barrels of gasoline a day last week, up by about 200,000 barrels a day compared to the prior week.

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'Please stop' tweeting about oil, Iran tells Trump