Saudi Arabia tells OPEC it pumped 10.488 million bpd of…

US West Texas Intermediate crude futures were down 16 cents or 0.2 percent at.98 per barrel

US West Texas Intermediate crude futures were down 16 cents or 0.2 percent at.98 per barrel

For the week, WTI futures lost about 0.5 percent after hitting a 3-1/2-year high on Tuesday, while Brent lost about 3 percent.

Paradoxically, U.S. President Donald Trump, with one eye on the U.S. driving season ahead of the U.S. 4 of July holiday, has been grumbling about high oil prices and on Jun.30 tweeted that he had directly asked Saudis to open the taps to make up for the shortfall.

Brent, the worldwide benchmark, shed 0.5% to $77.77 a barrel.

USA light crude jumped $1.17 to US$75.11 a barrel, its highest since November 2014.

The clash over OPEC policy and the resumption of United States sanctions on Iran has been amplified this week as Trump continues to target the group which he blames for rising prices.

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In a Twitter tirade yesterday, Mr Trump urged the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to stop manipulating oil prices.

Brent was being pressured by expectations for higher Saudi and Russian Federation production, which impacts Europe and Asia, where Brent is the benchmark, more than markets dominated by USA crude prices.

"This must be a two way street", his latest statement read. "When presidents are in disfavor, the high gasoline price only adds to that".

"Given the extension of the Opec agreement to end of 2018, we expect oil sector growth to be limited this year, especially given the UAE's increasing compliance with the production cuts, which averaged 124 per cent in the first three months of 2018", ICAEW said. Now that prices have rebounded from a low of $30 a barrel in January 2016 to about $75, OPEC and other exporters led by Russian Federation have agreed to slowly increase exports by what will effectively be 700,000 barrels a day now, with another half million barrels later in the year as sanctions on Iran take effect. While OPEC is facing mounting pressure from Trump to do more, America's sanctions on group members Iran and Venezuela are adding uncertainties, just as United States tariffs on Chinese goods kick in on Friday.

"You are hammering on good guys in OPEC", Kazempour said. His message was conveyed by the Iranian oil ministry's news service Shana.

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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 US sanctions.

Saudi Arabia has wanted to sell shares in Aramco to bring in foreign investment to diversify its economy, but legal concerns about listing in places like London or NY have presented complications.

Oil prices fell on Thursday after U.S. President Donald Trump sent a strident tweet demanding that OPEC cut prices for crude.

Trump's plan is to get the Gulf countries to commit to increase output by over two million barrels per day to offset falling supplies elsewhere. It's telling that this is his third provocation on oil prices since April. He predicted that higher oil prices would end up hurting the U.S. economy. An Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander warned that Iran might blockade the narrow, strategic Strait of Hormuz if Trump stopped oil exports, a move some considered unlikely since Iran's own imports pass through the Strait.

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