Previous Iran blames Washingtong for the spike in oil prices

Crude Oil

Morgan Stanley raised its Brent crude forecast to $85 a barrel next year, while U.S. President Donald Trump continued to push top OPEC producer Saudi Arabia to pump more and reduce petroleum prices for consumers.

Iran's OPEC Governor Hossein Kazempour Ardebili on Thursday took a shot at President Trump's comments, saying, "Your tweets have increased the prices by at least $10".

Brent crude oil edged up Wednesday after a second consecutive drop in USA crude inventories, driven by an outage at the Syncrude Canada oil sands facility, which usually supplies the U.S.

For starters, Trump's reimposition of sanctions on Iran after canceling President Barack Obama's nuclear deal with that country has put upward pressure on the commodity, according to Mizuho Securities oil analyst Paul Sankey. "Pls stop it, otherwise it will go even higher!" the Iranian official added. "We also expect Venezuelan production to decline a further 150,000 bbl/d towards year-end, with risks still skewed to the downside", Bjørnar Tonhaugen, vice president of oil market research at Rystad Energy, said. While the comments were ambiguous, Iranian officials in the past have threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, a major oil shipping route, in retaliation for any hostile USA action.

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Before oil took a swift downturn in mid-2014, the price of Brent crude had in the years prior traded consistently above $100 per barrel.

West Texas Intermediate crude for August delivery rose 20 cents to settle at US$74.14 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after earlier rising to as high as US$75.27. "OPEC has not defined oil prices for the past 30 years, it is a financial market and regional hubs for marker crudes who does it?"

Kazempour said Trump was trying to intensify tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

While Saudi Arabia is facing mounting pressure from Trump to do more, America's oil sanctions on Iran and trade frictions with China are adding to uncertainties as the planned United States tariffs on Chinese goods are set to start on Friday.

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Inventories at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for USA crude futures, fell to their lowest level since December 2014.

Antoine Halff, formerly a chief oil market analyst at the International Energy Agency and now senior fellow at Columbia University, said that Trump made three errors in his tweet: OPEC can influence market prices but is not a monopoly.

Beginning midnight Washington time on Friday, the USA imposed new tariffs on US$34 billion worth of annual imports from China, to which Beijing responded by saying that it was imposing tariffs on USA goods.

The global benchmark slipped 23 cents, or 0.3%, to US$78.01 a barrel at 2:05pm in London.

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