Oil prices fall as Donald Trump demands OPEC ‘reduce pricing now’

Saudi Arabia's Minister of Energy Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid Al Falih speaks during a press conference with his Russian counterpart Alexander Novak at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in the capital Riyadh on Feb. 14 2018

USA light crude jumped $1.17 to US$75.11 a barrel, its highest since November 2014. USA crude futures CLc1 were up 19 cents at $74.33 a barrel, within sight of Tuesday's 3-1/2-year high above $75 a barrel.

At 0715 GMT, August WTI crude oil futures are trading $74.00, down $0.33 or -0.46% and September Brent crude oil is at $77.80, down $0.43 or -0.55%.

President Donald Trump says OPEC is "doing little to help" rising gas prices and claims "if anything, they are driving prices higher". Saudi Arabia agrees with Trump on the importance of keeping prices down but has not committed to increasing output sufficiently. While Trump says he wants lower oil prices, USA sanctions against OPEC members Iran and Venezuela are adding uncertainty to the market, causing prices to spike. If anything, they are driving prices higher as the United States defends many of their members for very little $'s.

"This must be a two way street", he wrote, adding in block capitals, "REDUCE PRICING NOW!"

And "there is always risk" Trump will release oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve to cap prices, he said.

OPEC together with a group of non-OPEC producers led by Russian Federation started to withhold output in 2017 to prop up prices.

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Currently, prices are being propped up by supply disruptions in Canada, Libya and Venezuela as well as looming sanctions against Iran, which could remove as much as 3.8 million barrels per day of crude oil from the market.

Former Shell Oil President John Hofmeister on the outlook for oil prices.

An Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander, meanwhile, said on Wednesday that Tehran might block oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz, a major route for transporting crude in the Gulf.

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.

NAB said its oil price forecasts "point to Brent spending the next few months largely in the mid-to-high $70s (per barrel) range, although meaningful OPEC-Russia output increases could push prices lower later in the year and higher United States shale production should impose an upside limit on WTI".

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