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U.S. Oil Prices Rise as Stockpiles Fall

Trump bashes OPEC for 'high' oil prices

A flag with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) logo is seen before a news conference at OPEC's headquarters in Vienna, Austria, December 10, 2016. The ministers are gathering on June 20 as they debate an exit plan for the 2016 production cut deal, one of the key factors for pushing up oil prices.

Saudi Arabia has enjoyed diplomatic ties with the USA for decades, and may be facing strong pressure to temper oil prices as President Donald Trump targets Iran - the kingdom's political rival - with sanctions.

"Any positive outcome could be good news for markets", said Shannon Rivkin, investment director at Australia's Rivkin Securities.

"There is the possibility of a downward revision to our economic assumptions in the next few months". "My opinion is the world of energy requires longer periods of stability, both on the oil price side and in the relationship between members and non-members of OPEC, before any major decisions on oil cuts can be taken", she said.

Production cuts by Opec have led to global oil prices hitting a four-year high last month that forced a Rs 3.8 per litre hike in petrol and Rs 3.38 a litre increase in diesel prices. "A prolonged slowdown in trade would negatively affect world GDP growth and oil demand, as a significant part of oil consumption is linked to trade activities".

Official U.S. production and inventory data is due to be published on Wednesday by the Energy Information Administration.

The group, together with its partners, may consider raising output to compensate for any supply shortfalls.

Trump's grousing follows reports suggesting the oil exporters group was already planning to open the spigots, an outcome the International Energy Agency hinted at in its monthly report released earlier Wednesday.

With output in Russian Federation rising back above 11 million bpd in June and Saudi production climbing back above 10 million bpd, supplies from the top three producers are increasing.

But that rollback in production is set to expire at the end of the year. "The real catalyst for the recent rise in prices is the sanctions on Iran". The kingdom reported that it increased production in May to about 10 million barrels a day. U.S. consumption of gasoline in the United States rose to an historic high of 9.88 million bpd last week, according to the EIA.

"Recently this expansion has not been without stress".

At 1030 GMT, the August ICE Brent crude futures contract was down 31 cents/b from Wednesday's settle, at $76.43/b, while the NYMEX July sweet light crude contract was up 16 cents at $66.80/b.

Prices last month were further boosted to the highest level since 2014 after a U.S. decision to reimpose sanctions on Iran threatened to curb exports from the Islamic Republic and as economic turmoil in Venezuela hurt the Latin American nation's output.

The IEA meanwhile revised upwards its estimate for 2018 non-OPEC growth to 2 mb/d, and to 1.7 mb/d in 2019.