With crude oil prices steadily climbing to $80 a barrel, President Trump on Thursday again slammed OPEC - tweeting that prices keep rising even as the United States spends billions to safeguard oil-producing Mideast countries.
The oil platforms Atwood Aurora and Atwood Beacon are seen at the Palumbo Malta Shipyard in Cospicua in Valletta's Grand Harbour, Malta September 19, 2018.
Fears over supply shortages have boosted crude prices in recent weeks, and global benchmark Brent was trading above $79 a barrel on Thursday. Prices hit a two-month high Wednesday as Brent crude, the world's most closely followed gauge, rose above $79 a barrel.
Trump has specifically called on Saudi Arabia, OPEC's largest producer, to raise output, saying that it should help the United States lower fuel prices since Washington is aiding Riyadh in its struggle against Iran. Many buyers have already cut Iranian purchases ahead of the new regulations.
Trump's fresh intervention in the oil market comes before a meeting of ministers from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies in Algeria on Sunday, Bloomberg reported.
The meeting is unlikely to agree to an official rise in crude output, although pressure is mounting to prevent a spike in prices.
The Asian recovery in WTI (oil futures on NYMEX) got sold-off into the $ 70 barrier in the European morning, as markets turned cautious ahead of the weekly U.S. crude stockpiles report due to be published by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) later on Wednesday.
'We protect the countries of the Middle East, they would not be safe for very long without us, and yet they continue to push for higher and higher oil prices! Trump tweeted in his latest rant against the cartel.
Rising U.S. gasoline prices could create a political headache for Trump before November congressional elections by offsetting Republican tax cuts.
Oil prices have been rising as supplies fall.
"Brent is definitely fighting the $80 line, wanting to break above", said SEB Markets chief commodities analyst Bjarne Schieldrop. "But this is likely to break very soon", he added.