Trump to OPEC: ‘Reduce pricing now!’
U.S. President Donald Trump again accused the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries of driving gas prices higher on Twitter on July 4 and urged the oil cartel’s members to do more.
“The OPEC Monopoly must remember that gas prices are up they are doing little to help. 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. REDUCE PRICING NOW!” Trump wrote on Twitter.
Following his comments, oil prices fell on July 5.
The escalating trade row between Washington and Beijing, which triggered another sell-off in Asian stocks on July 5, was also felt in oil markets, with China warning it could introduce duties on U.S. crude imports at an as yet unspecified date.
Brent crude futures were at $77.70 per barrel at 0653 GMT, down 54 cents, or 0.7 percent, from their last close.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 37 cents, or 0.5 percent, at $73.77 per barrel.
The Republican president has lashed out at the petroleum group in recent weeks. Rising gasoline prices could create a political headache for Trump before the November mid-term congressional elections by offsetting Republican claims that his tax cuts and rollbacks of federal regulations have helped boost the U.S. economy.
In a tweet on June 30, Trump said Saudi Arabia had agreed to increase oil output by up to 2 million barrels per day, an assertion that the White House rowed back on in a subsequent statement.
The leader of Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s biggest member, has assured Trump that the kingdom can raise oil production if needed and that the country has 2 million barrels per day of spare capacity that could be deployed to help cool oil prices to compensate for falling output in Venezuela and Iran.
Trump has been complaining about OPEC at the same time that Washington is piling pressure on its European allies to stop buying Iranian oil.