In Brief

Donald Trump takes aim at Opec over high oil prices

Iran hits back, accusing the US President of stoking volatility by withdrawing from the nuclear deal

President Donald Trump has accused Opec of manipulating oil prices ahead of the group's production meeting later this month.

“Oil prices are too high, Opec is at it again,” the president wrote on Twitter yesterday. “Not good!”

This isn’t the first time Trump has taken aim at the oil cartel. In April, he said Opec’s efforts to push prices higher would “not be accepted” by his administration.

Oil prices have risen around 60% over the last year after Opec and some non-Opec producers, including Russia, began reducing supplies in 2017, according to Reuters.

Analysts predict that member states will agree to increase production when the organisation meets in Vienna at the end of the month.

“Opec doesn't want to see oil prices spike to $100 again,” says Brian Kessens, portfolio manager at Tortoise, an energy investment firm. “Opec is trying to find a sweet spot where everyone wins.”

Global benchmark prices are currently nearing $80 a barrel, a spike which threatens to slow America’s cruising economy and anger voters before the midterm election, CNN Money says.

Trump’s latest comments drew a sharp response from Iran, one of the world’s largest oil exporters.

The country’s Opec governor accused the US President of stoking volatility by withdrawing from the nuclear deal and imposing tough new sanctions on Iran and Venezuela.

“You cannot place sanctions on two Opec founder members and still blame Opec for oil price volatility,” Hossein Kazempour Ardebili told Reuters. “This is business, Mr. President - we thought you knew it.”

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