Trump’s order for OPEC to reduce prices is insulting - Iranian oil minister

Global outages overshadow underwhelming OPEC output hike

USA crude futures fell US$1.20 to settle at US$72.94 a barrel, retreating from Tuesday's 3 1/2 year high of over US$75.

US crude futures were down 58 cents at $73.56 per barrel by 12:00 p.m. EDT (1600 GMT), still in sight of Tuesday's 3-1/2-year high above $75. The American Petroleum Institute, an industry body, was said to report that stockpiles fell by 4.51 million barrels.

Similarly, the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) report indicated that Saudi Arabia raised oil output by nearly 500,000 barrels per day last month.

Saudi Arabia had political reasons to respond positively to Trump's request, given its animosity to arch-rival Iran, which Trump is trying to bring to its knees through strict new sanctions.

Inventories at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for U.S. crude futures, fell to their lowest level since December 2014.

Traders said the decline in fuel inventories was largely down to the outage at Syncrude Canada's 360,000 barrels per day (bpd) oil sands facility near Fort McMurray, Alberta, which is expected to last through July.

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"Every day, Mr. Trump has a new message or remark that causes concern in the market, or he gives OPEC members orders that are very insulting", or demands other countries increase their production, Zanganeh said.

United States president, Trump in a series of tweets, is reported to have called for Saudi officials, which represent the most influential oil producer in OPEC, to help pump more crude and lower prices.

Output cuts by OPEC and allies since January 2017 have reduced a crude glut. Last month, the group agreed to lift production by about 1 million bpd to offset losses from Venezuela and Iran.

The oil minister also said that Iran, which is Opec's third-largest producer, has not changed its oil production and exports amid growing United States pressure.

An Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander said on Wednesday that Tehran might block oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz, a major route for transporting crude in the Gulf. "A blockade of this transport route would thus have dramatic consequences for global oil supply and an impact on prices that is nearly impossible to put into figures".

The US Navy stands ready to ensure freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce, a spokesman for the US military's Central Command said.

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