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Agencies
June 14, 2018

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Trump accuses OPEC of driving up oil prices

Washington: US President Donald Trump on Wednesday accused the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries of driving up oil prices, in a fresh swipe at the cartel´s agreement to cap production.

"Oil prices are too high, OPEC is at it again. Not good!" he wrote on Twitter.

Oil prices peaked in late May, hitting the $80 per barrel ceiling on the Brent futures contract and $72.24 on the West Texas Intermediate.

Oil prices have risen by around 60 percent over the last year after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and some non-OPEC producers, including Russia, started withholding output in 2017 to reduce excess supply.

Some countries have already increased production, and analysts have said the outlook for the oil market for the rest of 2018 is uncertain as OPEC countries prepare to meet June 22-23 in Vienna to discuss output.

In the United States, rising gasoline prices have threatened to blunt other economic headwinds.

Prices nationwide have edged up toward $3 a gallon as the US hits its peak summer travel season, still less than the $4 a gallon in 2008 during the 2007-2009 Great Recession.

In April Saudi Energy Minister Khaled al-Faleh said the global market has the capacity to absorb higher oil prices -- a remark that drew a swift reaction Trump.

"With record amounts of Oil all over the place, including the fully loaded ships at sea, Oil prices are artificially Very High! No good and will not be accepted!" Trump tweeted on April 20.

OPEC producers and non-OPEC countries struck a deal in 2016 to trim production by 1.8 million barrels per day to reduce a global glut of oil.

The deal, which is due to run out at the end of 2018, has succeeded in boosting oil prices above $70 a barrel from below $30 a barrel in early 2016.

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