Trump says OPEC is 'doing little' to lower gas prices

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Foreign ministers from the five remaining signatories of a nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers will meet Iranian officials in Vienna to discuss how to keep the accord alive after the US withdrawal from the pact.

Kazempour accused Trump of trying to ramp up tensions between Iran and its regional rival, Saudi Arabia. Cutting prices can be seen as an indication that a country wants to supply more crude.

The president noted that the United States provides security for Saudi Arabia and other Arab Gulf countries through the presence of military forces in the region.

In May, the US retreated from a multilateral deal with Iran regarding its nuclear disarmament program, and imposed sanctions to limit the world's fourth largest oil exporter's access to global markets. The International Energy Agency estimates OPEC's spare capacity could fall in to around 2.5 mbpd (excluding Iran) - by the first half of 2019, its lowest level since the end of 2016 when record production from the Middle East reduced spare capacity to around 1.9 million bpd. Prices to (sic) high!

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"OPEC has not defined oil prices for the past 30 years", Kazempour said.

The president's repeated criticism of OPEC reflects his awareness that higher prices are already hitting a key section of his own electoral coalition.

But most of those states are solidly Republican and likely to vote Trump's party at the mid-term congressional elections in 2018.

The average cost of gasoline has risen nearly 60 percent from a cyclical low of $1.87 a gallon in February 2016 to $2.97 last month.

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USA crude inventories fell by 4.5 million barrels in the week to June 29 to 416.9 million barrels, according to the American Petroleum Institute (API) on Tuesday.

West Texas Intermediate crude for August delivery rose 20 cents to settle at US$74.14 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after earlier rising to as high as US$75.27.

Though oil prices are still well below their recent peaks, the steady creep back up will pinch the pockets of consumers who were getting used to cheaper gas after years of high prices and talk of "peak oil"-the topping out of the world's finite supply as it begins to run out". "Pls stop it, otherwise it will go even higher!" Rising gasoline prices could create a political headache for Trump before November mid-term congressional elections by offsetting Republican claims that his tax cuts and rollbacks of federal regulations have helped boost the US economy.

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