Trump urges OPEC to drive down oil prices

Oil prices fall amid surprise growth in U.S. crude stocks

Oil prices fall amid surprise growth in U.S. crude stocks

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. That's been a red line for the White House in the past, provoking the president to direct his first social-media barb against the cartel since July 4.

President Donald Trump blasted OPEC in a tweet Thursday morning, saying the Middle East wouldn't be safe without US military protection and yet, countries there continue to keep prices high. "The OPEC monopoly must get prices down!" he wrote.

"OPEC does listen to Donald Trump", said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at The PRICE Futures Group, during an interview with FOX Business.

Observers will be watching the forthcoming OPEC meeting in Algiers for clues on oil production.

The president is returning to a playbook that's won him significant victories already this year.

Although supply worries have pushed up oil prices, OPEC and its allies were not likely to agree to an official increase in crude output at this weekend's meeting, OPEC sources said. As of writing, the barrel of WTI was trading at $70.46, losing 1.35%, or $1, on the day.

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However, oil bulls have reacted positively to news reports this week that Saudi Arabia may be open to Brent climbing above $80 a barrel, despite pressure from Mr. Trump.

Mr. Trump in May pulled the USA out of a 2015 global agreement to curb Iran's nuclear program, setting the stage for the reimpositon of economic sanctions-and sending prices skyrocketing. While Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation have recently boosted output to compensate, it's unclear whether they're willing or able to offset all the losses from Iran.

"We have seen a contraction in the level of investments in the last couple of years in response to the impact of the downturn", Barkindo told Reuters TV in an interview, referring to a drop in oil prices that started in 2014.

Two of OPEC's founding members, Iran and Venezuela, are under sanctions from Washington.

OPEC and its allies are unlikely to agree to an official increase in crude output when they meet in Algeria this weekend, although pressure is mounting on top producers to prevent a spike in oil prices above $80 a barrel ahead of new USA sanctions on Iran, OPEC sources told Reuters on Thursday.

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