Oil near US$74 amid Trump tweets, forecast drop in U.S. stockpile

Iran's OPEC governor Hossein Kazempour Ardebili

"Increased Saudi crude availability that is being enhanced by reduced OSPs (official selling prices) into Europe and other regions is providing a strong counter against curtailed Libyan export activities", Ritterbusch wrote.

"The OPEC monopoly must remember that gas prices are up and they are doing little to help..."

US crude futures slipped on Thursday after data showed an unexpected 1.3 million-barrel build in crude inventories.

US crude futures were down 58 cents at $73.56 per barrel by 12:00 p.m. EDT (1600 GMT), still in sight of Tuesday's 3-1/2-year high above $75.

The recent strength in oil prices has in part been spurred by a USA announcement that it plans to reintroduce sanctions against Iran, OPEC's third-largest producer, from November, targeting oil exports.

NAB said its oil price forecasts "point to Brent spending the next few months largely in the mid-to-high $70s (per barrel) range, although meaningful OPEC-Russia output increases could push prices lower later in the year and higher U.S. shale production should impose an upside limit on WTI".

Trump has lashed out at OPEC producers to reduce prices, making a claim - later backtracked by the White House - in a tweet on Saturday that Saudi Arabia had agreed to increase oil output by up to 2 million barrels. This must be a two way street.

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That may reduce the pressure on Saudi Arabia to keep oil prices high, said John Kilduff, partner at energy hedge fund Again Capital LLC in NY.

The U.S. bank warned that supply threats were "threatening a sharp further rise in prices and global economic growth".

Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh talks to journalists at the beginning of an OPEC meeting in Vienna, Austria, June 22, 2018.

Oil Industry experts believe Opec's biggest member can raise output by about 1 million bpd to 11 million bpd and even that would be a tall order in the short term.

USA production remained steady at 10.9 million bpd for a third week in a row. "Because the oil market is already in tight supply due to the numerous outages, this would drive worldwide prices (Brent) further up", Commerzbank said in a note.

USA tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese imports took effect as a deadline passed on Friday and Beijing has vowed to respond in kind.

The oil minister also said that Iran, which is Opec's third-largest producer, has not changed its oil production and exports amid growing USA pressure.

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