Hail to the tweet! President Donald Trump is calling out OPEC and telling them now is the time to lower prices. The tweet this time had less of an oil price impact from previous tweets, as many are starting to realize OPEC can’t do much. The President tweeted that “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!”
So, President Trump is using his leverage with the Saudis saying you must replace Iranian oil because we have got your back against your nemesis. The Saudis, of course, must look like any move they make is within the boundaries OPEC and Russia has set. Iran Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said any production increase above limits agreed to by OPEC would “breach” the deal, according to a letter he sent to OPEC President Suhail Al Mazrouei and distributed by the Iran Oil Ministry’s news service Shana. OPEC should reject the U.S. call for a production increase which is “politically motivated against Iran,” he said, as reported by Bloomberg.
With the Trump Administration working toward zero Iranian exports by November, Libyan oil supplies at risk due to clashes with militias, and crashing supply from Venezuela, reports of tightening U.S. supply is keeping oil on edge. Crude oil price continued its drive, hitting $74 a barrel for the first time since that fateful OPEC meeting in November 2014.
All is well in OPEC land. OPEC kept it together with a unanimous deal, even though there is still disagreement on what the deal in Vienna means. Post OPEC, we have a rising dollar on China/U.S. trade tensions and a major Canadian oil sands outage that will buoy U.S. prices.
The historic OPEC NON-OPEC production agreement became known as OPEC plus one. Russia became that plus one as they joined OPEC and conspired with them to reduce production and ultimately raise production and reduce supply. As OPEC meets today it is OPEC minus one. Iran seems to be the lone holdout from a production deal that’s on paper.
OPEC speculation and a strong dollar on trade war fears is providing highs and lows on the crude oil market. Oil was rallying on a big 5.9 million barrels draw in inventory, and a record-breaking week for U.S. refiners as they ran a seasonal record 17.7 million barrels a day crude oil last week according to Energy Information Administration data.
It looks like it is going to be a showdown at the OPEC coral as Iran leads the coalition of the not so willing to raise oil production along with Iraq and Venezuela. The coalition of the willing lead by Saudi Arabia and the so-called Plus 1, Non-OPEC Russia seems as committed as ever to raising oil output. Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak Is pushing for a 1.5-million-barrel increase in output, which is partly a negotiating tactic and partly a concern that the market might become undersupplied in the third quarter.
The anticipation of a drastic shift in OPEC’s mindset is quite puzzling to most when you consider that the previous theme heading into meetings was how much production output could possibly be cut from the market. This focus has suddenly been replaced with anxiety over how much supply could potentially be added back into the market.
Trade war fears are escalating after President Donald Trump hit back against the Chinese by asking his administration to identify $200 billion worth of Chinese goods for additional tariffs at a rate of 10%. This came after markets started to shake off concerns about the United States imposing a 25% tariff on up to $50 billion of Chinese products.