White House Backs Off Tweet on Saudis Helping Lower Oil Prices

White House Backs Off Tweet on Saudis Helping Lower Oil PricesWhite House Backs Off Tweet on Saudis Helping Lower Oil Prices

US President Donald Trump’s administration backed off an assertion he made hours earlier indicating he persuaded Saudi Arabia to effectively boost oil production to its maximum capacity, which would have threatened to blow up a fragile truce agreed by OPEC last week and inflamed the Saudi-Iran rivalry.

“Just spoke to King Salman of Saudi Arabia and explained to him that, because of the turmoil in Iran and Venezuela, I am asking that Saudi Arabia increase oil production, maybe up to 2,000,000 barrels, to make up the difference ... He has agreed!” Trump said on Twitter on Saturday, Bloomberg reported.

But in a statement on Saturday, the White House said King Salman bin Abdulaziz affirmed that Saudi Arabia has 2 million barrels a day of spare production capacity “which it will prudently use if and when necessary to ensure market balance and stability, and in coordination with its producer partners, to respond to any eventuality”.

The White House statement aligned with one by the state-run Saudi Press Agency saying that the king and Trump, in a phone call on Saturday, discussed efforts by oil-producing countries to compensate potential shortages in oil supply.

After oil prices hit $80 per barrel, Trump had called on the Saudis to increase output because the high oil price was hurting the American economy.

This was followed by the Saudi call to ease output curbs that had led to the reversal of oil price decline from under $40. Trump last year chose Saudi Arabia for his first foreign trip. Since then, the two governments have announced hundreds of billions of dollars worth of contracts.


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