At Algiers summit, OPEC will keep a wary eye on Donald Trump

Trump Presses OPEC to Reduce Prices as Crude Trades Near $80

Oil prices steadied on Thursday after US President Donald Trump called on Opec to "get prices down now!", slowing an upward surge that has pushed the market towards four-year highs.

But on Tuesday Bloomberg cited unnamed Saudi sources as saying the kingdom was comfortable with oil above $80, at least for the short term, helping to push prices higher.

Trump said in the message.

Crude oil prices and energy-related exchange traded funds jumped as USA oil inventories slip to a three-and-a-half year low on rising exports.

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WTI prices were up Thursday morning on the news that USA crude oil inventories were down 2.1 million barrels last week, the fifth straight week of declines.

Crude oil prices moved in opposite directions Thursday morning as Brent was trending down and WTI trending up, both for different reasons. Oil exports from the Persian Gulf nation have plunged about 35 percent since April, the month before Trump exited from the diplomatic deal with Tehran and announced new oil sanctions. Earlier this month, Saudi shipments into the USA reached a four-week average of 1 million barrels a day for the first time since late 2017, according to government data. US oil inventories are about 3 percent below the 5-year average for this time of year.

Opec and its allies are scheduled to gather in Algeria on Sunday to discuss how to allocate higher supply to offset the shortage of Iranian supplies.

But allowing prices to rise too high could lead to a drop in oil consumption, with some already forecasting tepid growth in 2019 global demand. Refineries were running at 95.4% of capacity, with daily input averaging 17.4 million barrels a day, about 442,000 less than the previous week's average.

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According to data from the American Petroleum Institute, the crude oil inventories in the United States for the week of September 14 have gone up by 1.2 million barrels to a total of 397.1 million barrels.

In July, the president sent a similar tweet, bemoaning prices at the pump, telling OPEC to "REDUCE PRICING NOW!".Later that month OPEC boosted production by 41,000 to 32.32 million barrels, as noted in OPEC's monthly report.

The comments come just ahead of this weekend's meeting of a committee monitoring the supply pact between OPEC, Russia and some other non-OPEC producers.

America has risen to the top the list of oil-producing countries for the first time in more than four decades, analysts believe.

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