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Global oil prices extended declines Thursday amid reports that OPEC members are close to agreeing a deal that would increase output at their semi-annual meeting in Vienna this week.
Saudi Arabia's powerful Energy Minister, Khalid Al-Falih, said that global consumers were demanding more crude supply and that he was confident a deal could be struck that would satisfy all stakeholders at tomorrow's meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and said global markets were "re-balanced" even as he conceded that the cartel's mission wasn't yet accomplished.
Al-Falih says over-compliance ~1mbd. "The most important thing is the consumers, and consumers are asking for more supply in the second half when demand is rising". Signal of what's to come tomorrow? #OPECSeminar— Jason Bordoff (@JasonBordoff) June 21, 2018
His comments come amid reports suggesting cartel members, along with Russia, could be prepping a production increase to offset the loss of supply from crisis hit Venezuela while lessening the impact of recently-imposed U.S. sanctions on Iranian crude. Iran, however, is said to be resisting an output increase given the political tensions with Washington and the recent Tweets from U.S. President Donald Trump.
"This is not a political organization, this is a commercial organization," said OPEC president and UAE Energy Minister Suhail Al Mazrouei. "We are not going to politicize the discussion, we will make good project like we do always. I'm confident that this group will always do the right thing."
Brent crude contracts for August delivery, the global benchmark for prices, were marked $1.42 lower from their Wednesday close in New York and changing hands at $73.32 each in early European dealing. WTI contracts for July delivery, which are more tightly-linked to U.S. gas prices, were marked $1.17 lower lower at $64.54 per barrel.
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Iran, Venezuela and Iraq have reportedly resisted calls for a change in OPEC's December 2016 agreement, which, along with Russia, has taken 1.8 million barrels of crude from the market each day and is set to continue to do so until the end of this year.
The output cap, as well as unprecedented co-operation from member states, pushed global crude prices to a near four-year high of $80 a barrel last month and lifted U.S. gasoline prices closer to $3 a gallon in the days prior to the Memorial Day holiday in May.
President Trump has also weighed in on OPEC's discussions, saying in a Tweet last week that the cartel was "at it again."
Oil prices are too high, OPEC is at it again. Not good!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 13, 2018
U.S. oil producers, however, have responded to the OPEC pullback by increasing their own output to record levels of more than 10.4 million barrels a day, according to Energy Information Administration data.
Goldman Sachs, however, said earlier this week that firmer emerging market demand will outweigh worries about higher production, rising inventories and risks of a global trade war and forecasts " a moderately tighter oil market through the second quarter of 2019 ... despite core OPEC and Russia production reaching new record highs by next summer and inventories already below normal levels."