Saudi Arabia raised oil output by around 500,000 bpd in June

Saudi Arabia's Minister of Energy Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid Al Falih speaks during a press conference with his Russian counterpart Alexander Novak at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in the capital Riyadh on Feb. 14 2018

The Iranian OPEC governor had on Thursday taunted Trump for his tweets urging OPEC to reduce prices, saying the USA president's tweets have backfired, having driven the prices up by at least $10 per barrel.

"The OPEC monopoly must remember that gas prices are up and they are doing little to help..."

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 37 cents, or 0.5 percent, at $73.77 per barrel.

Brent crude futures lost 85 U.S. cents to settle at US$77.39 a barrel.

Oil earlier traded near its highest in 3-½ years Thursday, boosted by potential disruptions to flows from Iran and the Middle East despite a new demand from U.S. President Trump, via Twitter, that OPEC cut prices. This must be a two way street.

"Trump's order to OPEC members to increase production is a great insult to those governments and nations, and destabilises the market".

"On the bearish side both Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation are living up to their promise to increase output", said Tamas Varga of oil broker PVM.

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OPEC together with a group of non-OPEC producers led by Russian Federation started to withhold output in 2017 to prop up prices.

Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh talks to journalists at the beginning of an OPEC meeting in Vienna, Austria, June 22, 2018. The kingdom, its Gulf allies and Russian Federation indicated that they will lift production by about 1 million barrels per day (bpd) to offset losses from Venezuela and Iran, but not more.

In addition to reducing the price of its August barrels, Saudi Arabia also told the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) that it increased production by nearly 500,000 barrels per day last month.

China's Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng said America's tariffs will backfire and damage the world economy because more than half of the US$34 billion of Chinese exports are produced by foreign companies.

Zanganeh added that neither Iranian oil production nor its exports had changed as a result of U.S. pressure.

US production remained steady at 10.9 million bpd for a third week in a row.

Meanwhile, China's commerce ministry said on Thursday the United States is "opening fire on the entire world", warning that Washington's proposed tariffs on Chinese goods will hit global supply chains.

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