Oil prices mixed as Trump calls on OPEC to lower prices

US President Donald Trump has urged OPEC to lower crude prices ahead of its meeting in Algeria this weekend. (Reuters)
Updated 21 September 2018
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Oil prices mixed as Trump calls on OPEC to lower prices

  • OPEC and its allies are scheduled to meet on Sunday in Algeria
  • They are not likely to agree to an official increase in crude output at this weekend’s meeting

SEOUL: Oil prices were mixed on Friday after falling in the previous session as US President Donald Trump urged OPEC to lower crude prices ahead of its meeting in Algeria this weekend.
International benchmark Brent crude for November delivery was up 5 cents at $78.75 a barrel by 0424 GMT.
US West Texas Intermediate crude for October delivery fell 8 cents to $70.24 a barrel.
Trump called on the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to lower prices, saying on Twitter “they would not be safe for very long without us, and yet they continue to push for higher and higher oil prices.”
OPEC and its allies are scheduled to meet on Sunday in Algeria to discuss how to allocate supply increases to offset a shortage of Iran supplies due to US sanctions.
Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia-Pacific at OANDA in Singapore, said Trump’s remarks just days before the OPEC meeting put “a focus on the likely supply impacts of US-led Iran sanctions.”
“The market had until that point been trading fluidly with the assumption that Saudi Arabia is now comfortable with Brent at $80 or even higher, which is challenging the market’s long-held supposition that prompt Brent between $70 and $80 was OPEC’s sweet spot,” Innes added.
Brent has been trading just below $80 a barrel, backed by concerns of supply shortages from looming US sanctions against Iran, which are set to take effect in November.
“Iranian crude exports are coming earlier and bigger-than-expected, at a time seasonal demand is strong. With spare capacity also falling sharply, the market remains exposed to supply-induced price shocks,” according to a report by ANZ Bank.
Although supply worries have pushed up oil prices, OPEC and its allies were not likely to agree to an official increase in crude output at this weekend’s meeting, OPEC sources said.


UK inflation rises in April by less than Bank of England expected

Updated 35 min 39 sec ago
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UK inflation rises in April by less than Bank of England expected

  • Consumer prices rose at an annual rate of 2.1 percent in April after a 1.9 percent increase in March
  • Electricity and gas prices were the biggest driver of inflation last month

LONDON: British inflation rose last month by less than the Bank of England and investors had expected, but still hit its highest level this year, pushed up by a rise in energy bills.
Consumer prices rose at an annual rate of 2.1 percent in April after a 1.9 percent increase in March, the Office for National Statistics said on Wednesday. A Reuters poll of economists had pointed to a rate of 2.2 percent, the same as the BoE’s forecast.
Sterling and government bonds were little changed by the data as core inflation, which excludes energy and food prices, held steady at 1.8 percent for the third month in a row.
“In principle, this is another reason to think the Bank of England will keep rates on hold for the foreseeable future,” ING economist James Smith said.
But he added that a strong labor market meant an interest rate hike in November could not be ruled out.
A recent weakening of inflation, combined with the lowest unemployment rate in 44 years and rising wages, has taken the edge off the uncertainty about Brexit for many households whose spending drives Britain’s economy.
But Britain’s energy regulator raised a price cap on energy providers by 10 percent with effect from April, and all big six suppliers raised their standard prices by the same amount, which the BoE said would push inflation above target briefly.
Electricity and gas prices were the biggest driver of inflation last month, the ONS said.
Computer game and package holiday prices helped to offset the impact of the higher bills.
The ONS figures also suggested less short-term pressure in the pipeline for consumer prices than expected.
Manufacturers’ costs for raw materials — many of them imported — were 3.8 percent higher than in April 2018, much less than the 4.5 percent rise predicted by the Reuters poll.
The ONS said house prices in March rose by an annual 1.4 percent across the United Kingdom as a whole compared with 1.0 percent in February, marking the first increase in house price inflation since September.
Prices in London alone fell by 1.9 percent, a smaller drop than in February.
The ONS also revised down its estimate for Britain’s budget deficit in the last 2018/19 financial year that ended in March.
The headline measure of public sector net borrowing amounted to £23.5 billion ($29.8 billion) that year or 1.1 percent of gross domestic product, compared with the previous estimate of £24.7 billion or 1.2 percent of GDP.
In April, the first year of the 2019/20 financial year, the deficit stood at £5.8 billion, as expected by economists.