Crude Prices Recover After Sliding on Trump's OPEC Criticism

Crude Prices Recover After Sliding on Trump's OPEC CriticismCrude Prices Recover After Sliding on Trump's OPEC Criticism

Oil prices edged up on Friday, stabilizing after an earlier slide driven by US President Donald Trump’s criticism of OPEC’s role in pushing up global oil prices. Brent crude oil futures gained 28 cents, or 0.4%, to settle at $74.06 per barrel. West Texas Intermediate crude futures for delivery in June, the most active US contract, were up 7 cents at $68.40.

The May WTI contract, which expired on Friday, gained 9 cents, or 0.1%, to settle at $68.38, Reuters reported.

“Looks like OPEC is at it again,” Trump tweeted.

“With record amounts of Oil all over the place, including the fully loaded ships at sea, Oil prices are artificially Very High! No good and will not be accepted!”

Middle East oil producers remember how US shale oil producers paid no attention to their woes when the prices were in the pits and continued to pump more into the glutted market. Naturally, even the US ally and top OPEC producer, Saudi Arabia, will pay no heed to Trump's ranting.

Since early 2017, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies have curbed output in the hopes of eliminating a global oil glut. "Prices held up, even under Trump’s comments," said Walter Zimmerman, chief technical analyst at United-ICAP.

“Oil looks like it wants to explore the upside a little more.”

OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo said the organization does not have a price objective, but that it is working to restore stability to oil markets.  Earlier this week, both Brent and WTI hit their highest levels since November 2014, at $74.75 and $69.56 per barrel respectively, buoyed by geopolitical risk and a tightening market. For the week, both benchmarks gained over 1%.

“The only thing [Trump] can really do is drain the SPR (Strategic Petroleum Reserve). Now, I have not seen any indication that the administration plans on doing that,” said Bob Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho in New York.

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