Oil prices slip as Trump calls on Opec to lower prices

On Thursday, Trump linked American support for Middle Eastern countries to oil prices as he again urged OPEC to lower prices.

'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! Earlier this month, Saudi shipments into the USA reached a four-week average of 1 million barrels a day for the first time since late 2017, according to government data.

Trump seemed to threaten the withdrawal of U.S. military resources from the Middle East if OPEC members in the region didn't work to lower prices.

OPEC with a group of non-OPEC producers that includes Russian Federation started withholding oil supplies in 2017 to end a global glut and prop up prices.

Jason Gammel, analyst at US bank Jefferies, said he expects Saudi Arabia to try to keep the oil market adequately supplied into 2019, "but at the cost of spare capacity", a key supply buffer to prevent oil price volatility.

Despite Thursday's losses, Brent prices have flirted with $80 a barrel this month, the highest price since May.

Brent has been trading just below $80 a barrel, backed by concerns of supply shortages from looming USA sanctions against Iran, which are set to take effect in November. They also don't want oil prices to fall too much'.

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Crude oil prices have been rising over the past year as a result of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' strategy to tighten supply.

OPEC meets on Sunday in Algeria, but the discussion is slated to revolve around current output production levels, and making sure all participants are still on board with things as they now are.

OPEC sources say there is no immediate plan for any official action as such a move would require OPEC to hold what it calls an extraordinary meeting, which is not on the table.

NYMEX crude is hovering at $70 per barrel, with a gain of almost 18 percent this year, while Brent, which measures the global market, nears the $80 per barrel mark, up almost 19 percent this year.

"It's complicated. Saudi Arabia has to balance oil supply and demand, and it has to balance oil prices so they don't rise too much before the United States elections", one OPEC source told Reuters.

Though Saudi Arabia has never tested such high levels, it has said it pumped 10.7-10.8 million bpd in the past.

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