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US President Donald Trump has been attacking OPEC for keeping oil prices artificially high - but officials in Iran insist that Trump's tweets are driving crude prices higher.

NAN reports that on Twitter, Trump called on OPEC countries, fresh from a meeting in which they made a decision to raise oil output by an indeterminate amount, to do more to bring down crude prices.

Oil prices edged up on Wednesday, lifted by a report of declining US fuel inventories amid the ongoing crude supply outage at Syncrude Canada in Alberta, which usually supplies the United States. He added, "This must be a two way street".

Weighing on prices was a rise in U.S. crude inventories of 1.2 million barrels in the week to June 29, to 417.88 million barrels, the U.S. Energy Administration (EIA) said on Thursday. However, summer months in the US usually lead to increased demand for oil, boosting the price of gasoline in a midterm election year.

"A key driver of the rise in prices has been the OPEC-Russia deal to cut oil output, compounded by collapsing Venezuelan production and the US decision to end the Iran deal", National Australia Bank (NAB) said in its July outlook. "Please stop this method", the oil ministry news agency quoted Kazempour Ardebili as saying. According to the Financial Times, traders and analysts have said that adding the full two million barrels per day requested by Trump would stretch the Kingdom to its limit and leave global spare capacity close to zero, with little buffer should there be further supply outages. Analysts had expected a 4.4 million barrel drawdown.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 45 cents, or 0.6%, at $73.69 per barrel.

Trump has criticized the "OPEC Monopoly" in recent days for not doing enough to reduce oil and gas prices.

No breakthrough in nuclear talks as Iran demands more after US exit
Iran, which strongly denies ever seeking to build a nuclear bomb, has warned it could resume uranium enrichment for civilian purposes if the deal collapses.

Crude pared gains after hitting a three-year high in NY as prospects for accelerating supply damped enthusiasm for the rally and traders curbed bullish bets before a USA holiday.

At the time, Trump tweeted that he spoke with Saudi Arabia's King Salman to ramp up oil production to lower prices. Although Saudi Arabia has pledged the organisation will boost supplies, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said that losses in some members - notably Venezuela and Iran - will lead to a new rally.

Iran, OPEC's third-largest producer, is facing United States sanctions on its oil exports that are prompting some buyers to cut purchases.

OPEC, together with a group of non-OPEC producers led by Russian Federation, reduced output in 2017 to prop up the market.

At 0715 GMT, August WTI crude oil futures are trading $74.00, down $0.33 or -0.46% and September Brent crude oil is at $77.80, down $0.43 or -0.55%.

An Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander, meanwhile, said on Wednesday that Tehran might block oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz, a major route for transporting crude in the Gulf.

Venezuelan production fell to 1.36 million bpd by June, compared to just under 2.5 million bpd at the start of previous year, amid a structural underinvestment in the country. Besides, for the third week in a row, United States production stagnated at 10.9 million bpd - close to the 11 million bpd production that many had forecast for the year.


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