Iran's Oil Exports Rapidly Decline As Other Producers Fill The Void

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

LONDON, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Oil prices slipped on Thursday after U.S. President Donald Trump called on OPEC to "get prices down now!" ahead of a meeting of major oil exporters in Algeria this weekend.

Varga further expanded by saying that the current trade war between the USA and other countries should have impacted the price of oil.

East Coast refiners, however, primarily look at the Brent-WTI spread to determine if the additional cost of acquiring and transporting domestic crude oil to the East Coast would be economical compared to importing crude oil from worldwide sources-the wider the spread, the more East Coast refiners increase the intake of domestic crude oil.

In actuality, this is largely a demand-fueled price increase that is due to robust USA and global economic growth, said Pat McKinnon, senior director at Euler Hermes North America.

Rising U.S. gasoline prices could create a political headache for Trump before November congressional elections by offsetting Republican tax cuts.

Week over week, USA crude oil exports rose by 539,000 barrels a day last week and US production rose from 10.9 million barrels a day to 11.0 million. Prices hit a two-month high Wednesday as Brent crude - the world's most closely followed gauge - rose above US$79 a barrel.

Current inventory levels were also 142 million barrels less than the record-high 536 million barrels in March 2017.

Crude inventories fell 2.1 million barrels last week to 394.1 million barrels, the lowest level since February 2015, EIA data showed.

'It's complicated. Saudi Arabia has to balance oil supply and demand, and it has to balance oil prices so they don't rise too much before the USA elections, ' one OPEC source told Reuters.

Brent crude for November delivery was down 3 cents at $78.67 a barrel by 7.37am.

"Spare capacity could fall below 1 percent of demand by year-end if Iranian exports fall below 1 million barrels per day, as now seems likely", Gammel said. But it is unclear how easily other producers can compensate for any lost supply.

But while prices have risen, they are nowhere near the historic high of $143 per barrel in June 2008.

Trump seemed to threaten the withdrawal of United States military resources from the Middle East if OPEC members in the region didn't work to lower prices.

The market remained bullish after news of another fall in US crude inventories. Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation said the increase would be about 1 million barrels a day.

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