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Trump, Iran trade sharp words over oil prices ahead of OPEC meeting

Reuters  |  WASHINGTON/LONDON 

By Susan Heavey, Chiacu and Alex Lawler

WASHINGTON/LONDON (Reuters) - and exchanged sharp words over prices on Wednesday, with Tehran accusing the U.S. of contributing to volatile prices after he withdraw from a global nuclear arms deal last month.

Trump sparked the latest back-and-forth on Wednesday when he renewed his attack on OPEC, saying in a tweet that prices are too high and blaming the cartel.

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. The cartel is meeting next week, where it will consider pulling back from the deal.

Iran's OPEC governor, Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, fired back quickly at Trump's words. "You cannot place sanctions on two OPEC founder members and still blame OPEC for oil price volatility," he said in a statement to Reuters, referring to itself and

After peaking in May at $80.50 a barrel, prices have pulled back, with the price of Brent crude trading on Wednesday near $76 at barrel, partly in anticipation that the deal may end, and as and have already started increasing production.

"are too high, OPEC is at it again. Not good!" Trump wrote in a post on on Wednesday after last raising the issue in April.

The is set to continue through the end of 2018, but plans for its continuation were unclear for next year. The calculus changed, however, after Trump announced in May that the was pulling out of the 2015 deal that restricted Iran's nuclear program in exchange for the removal of sanctions.

The U.S. move has put pressure on European and Asian clients to stop importing Iranian oil or doing business with the country. In response, Saudi Arabia, Iran's rival and the largest in OPEC, said it would consider increasing supply.

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

However, it is unclear whether other nations will commit to raising production. Russia's production was 11.1 million barrels a day in June, exceeding its quota, according to sources familiar with the matter.

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 U.S. hits its peak summer travel season, still less than the $4 a gallon during the 2007-2009 Great Recession.

Trump sent out his tweet hours after returning to from a summit with North Korean leader in and it was not immediately clear what prompted his comment.

(Reporting by Susan and Chiacu in and Alex in London; Writing by David Gaffen; Editing by Frances Kerry)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, June 13 2018. 20:03 IST
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