Oil hinges on Saudi dilemma: Bust budget or anger Trump?

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrives in Buenos Aires

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrives in Buenos Aires

Regional oil exporters are keen to end the intense price volatility that has characterised the market volatility which has seen the price of crude fall by about 30 percent since early October.

Saudi Arabia is in talks with various oil producing countries to address the volatility in the global crude oil market.

The choice facing Saudi Arabia at next week's OPEC meeting is dramatic: cut oil production and enrage Donald Trump, or keep pumping and risk ultra-low prices blowing up its economy.

Oil prices have plunged by 25 percent in the last month while the cost of gasoline has tumbled to as little as $2 a gallon in several states.

But oil trade, vital for Russian economy, is conducted in United States dollars, a "monopoly" Russia's President Vladimir Putin wants to end. This is stark contrast to his statement two weeks ago, when Putin had said that Russian Federation would be okay with a $70 per barrel price.

Oil briefly plunged below $50 on Thursday amid fears of an emerging supply glut, before reversing course after Reuters, citing unnamed industry sources, reported that Russian Federation is considering cutting its oil output along with other members of the Oil and Petroleum Producing Countries (OPEC).

Crude reserves increased 6.4 billion barrels, or 19.5 percent, to 39.2 billion barrels at year-end 2017, marginally higher than the previous record of 39 billion barrels set in 1970, the EIA said.

But Naimi warned repeatedly that the burden of OPEC and non-OPEC production cuts would fall most heavily on Saudi Arabia and the main beneficiaries would be USA shale producers, and time has proved him correct.

"We are in contact with OPEC and we are ready to continue our joint efforts if needed", Putin said.

John Hancock Financial Services' Adam Wise, a strategist who takes care of a $9 billion oil and gas portfolio, stated that everyone was now looking towards the OPEC meeting next week to get a sense of which direction oil prices were going to take. "Other insane people talk of $100 oil", said Pérez, who will represent his country at the OPEC meeting next week. Thankful for Trump's public support, the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, might be more willing to tolerate low oil prices than he would have been otherwise. USA crude dropped 29 cents, or 0.6 per cent, to $51.16 a barrel. The global benchmark traded at an $8.26 premium to WTI.

OPEC and its allies led by Russian Federation have been restraining production under a pact reached in late 2016 to prop up oil prices.

But the United States also offered generous waivers to allies who imported Iranian crude and might have struggled to find other supplies quickly when U.S. sanctions kicked in on November 4.

Saudi Arabia benefits by drilling the cheapest oil in the world because of low capital spending and absence of gross tax on oil.

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