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U.S. President Donald Trump linked American support for Middle Eastern countries to oil prices on Thursday as he again urged OPEC to lower prices.

"The OPEC monopoly must get prices down now", Trump insisted in the message.

Futures prices for WTI crude, the USA benchmark, dipped slightly following the tweet and were lower by 0.2% on the day. Meanwhile, an industry report Tuesday showed USA crude stockpiles increased 1.25 million barrels last week, defying expectations for a decline ahead of government data.

With the caveat that it's quite possible to over-interpret Trump's tweets, today's action underscores the tricky oil politics facing the White House. OPEC members will meet with non-Opec countries, such as Russian Federation, over the weekend to examine their production quotas.

In July, the president sent a similar tweet, bemoaning prices at the pump, telling OPEC to "REDUCE PRICING NOW!".Later that month OPEC boosted production by 41,000 to 32.32 million barrels, as noted in OPEC's monthly report.

High petrol prices can be an issue for voters, and Trump's attacks come just a couple of months ahead of the U.S. midterms, where analysts say rising prices could hurt Republicans. At a combined 54,000 lots, equivalent to about 54 million barrels of oil, open interest for these two calls alone is now equal to almost half of that for all November calls and puts with strikes between United States dollars 60 and USD 100 barrel.

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Brent crude oil was up 75c at $79.45 a barrel by 9.55am GMT.

He has consistently complained that oil prices are too high.

Aside from the presidential tweets, pressure has been mounting on OPEC to increase production ahead of USA sanctions against Iran, which come into effect in November.

US sanctions affecting Iran's oil exports come into force on November 4 and many buyers have already scaled back Iranian purchases. The freeze on output levels has helped to remove over-capacity from the market, meaning oil producing nations are benefiting from higher prices. Our outlook on crude oil remains neutral.

Mostly, however, it's the uncertainty over how easily other producers can compensate for any lost supply. After starting the year around $60 a barrel, United States oil prices raced above $74 this summer. Saudi Arabia, Russia and other major producers are scheduled to meet in Algiers on Sunday to review their strategy after the group agreed to increase production in June.


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