Iran says Trump is why oil prices are now so high

President Donald Trump

If U.S. President Donald Trump wants the price of oil to stop going up, he should stop interfering in the Middle East, Iranian oil minister Bijan Zanganeh said on Wednesday, according to the Iranian Students' News Agency (ISNA). Brent hit US$82.55 per barrel, its highest since Nov 10, 2014.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures lost 71 cents to settle at $71.57 a barrel. They rose 0.3 percent on Tuesday to close at their highest level since July 11.

Iranian oil exports are declining ahead of a second round of US sanctions to be imposed on November 4 and Iran's economy is likely to contract 3 percent this year and 4 percent in 2019, the Institute of International Finance said on Tuesday. Expectation of a tightening supply in the global oil market in the coming months has pushed crude oil prices higher, say analysts.

USA officials, including President Donald Trump, are trying to reassure consumers and investors that enough supply will remain in the oil market and have pushed the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to raise output.

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"We're on the verge of some significant volatility in Q4 2018 because depending on the severity and duration of the Iranian sanctions, the market simply does not have an adequate supply response for a 2 million barrel a day disappearance of oil from the markets", Jaeggi said.

"Trump blames OPEC for what he has created and caused: the rise of the price of oil and disturbance in the market", Zanganeh said.

"Trader focus remains on the Brent contract trading at four-year highs", said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney.

U.S. crude inventories rose 1.9 million barrels in the week to September 21, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data.

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"Iran will lose sizeable export volumes, and given Opec+ reluctance to raise output, the market is ill-equipped to fill the supply gap", Harry Tchilinguirian, global head of commodity markets strategy at French bank BNP Paribas, told the Reuters Global Oil Forum.

Oil prices, however, have trended higher amid concerns about supply.

Global benchmark Brent is on course for its fifth consecutive quarterly increase, the longest stretch since early 2007, when a six-quarter run led to a record high of US$147.50 a barrel.

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