Oil prices fall as Trump demands OPEC 'reduce pricing now'

Iran's OPEC governor Hossein Kazempour Ardebili

Iran's OPEC governor Hossein Kazempour Ardebili

Brent crude futures lost 85 USA cents to settle at US$77.39 a barrel.

Brent crude futures were at $77.82 per barrel, up 6 cents from their last close.

Iranian OPEC Governor Hossein Kazempour Ardebili told Reuters that Trump "should have expected" when blocking Iran's access to the global markets that it would end up as "hostage (to) Saudi Arabia and Russia", who he said had little vested interest in bringing down prices.

Iran has threatened to block oil exports through a key Gulf waterway in retaliation for USA efforts to reduce Iranian oil sales to zero.

Crude-oil prices retreated early Friday and were on track to book a weekly loss for the first time in three weeks, a day after the US benchmark contract suffered its lowest settlement in more than a week amid signs of rising production in Saudi Arabia and protracted trade tensions between the United States and China, according to monitored reports.

OPEC and Russian Federation announced in June they were willing to raise output to address concerns of emerging supply shortages due to unplanned disruptions from Venezuela to Libya, and likely also to replace a potential fall in Iranian supplies due to U.S. sanctions.

Trump urged Saudi Arabia to pump more oil.

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Meanwhile, the market continued to watch rising USA crude output, with this week's oil drilling rig count data, an indicator of future production, due at 1 p.m. The American Petroleum Institute, an industry body, was said to report that stockpiles fell by 4.51 million barrels.

"This must be a two way street", he wrote, adding in block capitals, "REDUCE PRICING NOW!"

"Mr Trump sends every day a new message that creates uncertainty in the market", Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said in an interview with state television.

The potential trade war between the United States and China comes amid a tight oil market.

Oil prices dropped Thursday after weekly government data showed a surprise rise in USA crude stockpiles last week as refineries cut output, while gasoline stocks decreased and distillate fuel inventories rose.

China's Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng said America's tariffs will backfire and damage the world economy because more than half of the US$34 billion of Chinese exports are produced by foreign companies.

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