Iran appears to soften stance on OPEC oil output increase

Iran will keep on selling oil in defiance of U.S. attempts to prevent Tehran from reaping profits from its major export earner, according to the head of the Iranian delegation at Sunday's meeting of oil producers in Algiers.

Sunday's meeting appeared to leave unresolved a disagreement which flared up in June between Saudi Arabia and Iran over whether OPEC members are allowed to pump more oil to make up shortfalls elsewhere.

Crude oil futures have spiked in early Asian trade on Monday, a move unlikely to be welcomed by US President Donald Trump who took to Twitter late last night to express his displeasure at recent price gains.

With Brent crude already jumping to an nearly four-year high on Monday, that's exactly the kind of price surge President Donald Trump has been seeking to prevent by pressuring the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to raise production. "We're looking at $68 [average] for this year and $73 for 2019". With upside momentum picking up, we expect to hear more criticism from President Trump, but other than some light profit-taking, his comments are not likely to have much of an effect on the price action.

Iran's OPEC governor, Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, said in comments to Reuters that Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation were unable and unwilling to add more production at short notice.

Mr Trump said last week that OPEC "must get prices down".

"Our plan is to meet demand", said Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih.

Brent crude, the benchmark for more than half the world's oil, rose 2.5 per cent to US$80.56 a barrel at 11:40 London, after earlier jumping to the highest level since November 2014.

The Iranian oil minister warned that OPEC's authority is being jeopardized by the US shadow effect on the allies in the region.

A source familiar with OPEC discussions told Reuters on Friday that OPEC and other producers have been discussing the possibility of raising output by 500,000 bpd.

Speaking to Bloomberg, Zanganeh warned that some oil producers are trying to create an alternative suppliers' forum that supports USA policies hostile to the government in Tehran.

This year the global economy has been expanding strongly, leading to growth in oil consumption and pushing up crude prices. "The reason Saudi Arabia didn't increase more is because all of our customers are receiving all of the barrels they want".

"All this will potentially reflect on oil prices".

Crude oil price curves are now in backwardation, with front-month contracts more expensive that later-dated futures.

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