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Oil up on supply concerns

LONDON, September 21, 2018 – Oil prices were slightly higher on Friday, as supply concerns weighed on investors but were kept down after U.S. President Donald Trump asked the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russia to lower prices.

West Texas Crude oil futures for November rose 0.65% to $70.78 a barrel as of 4:48 AM ET (8:48 GMT). Meanwhile Brent crude futures, the benchmark for oil prices outside the U.S., increased 0.84% to $79.36.

On Thursday Trump asked OPEC to keep prices lower, tweeting, “We protect the countries of the Middle East, they would not be safe for very long without us, and yet they continue to push for higher and higher oil prices! We will remember. The OPEC monopoly must get prices down now!”

 

This is the second time that Trump has asked the organization on Twitter to decrease prices.

OPEC and non-OPEC members, including Russia, are set to meet on Sunday in Algeria to talk about sharing supply increases to offset a shortfall of Iranian exports due to U.S. sanctions that will take effect in November.

Prices of oil have been driven higher in recent months as investors anticipate pressure from the sanctions against Iran. The sanctions, which are expected to go into effect on November 4, have already caused Iran’s crude exports to fall.

Investors were also looking ahead to weekly data on the oil rig count, which comes out later in the session.

In other energy trading, Gasoline RBOB Futures rose 0.89% at $2.0324 a gallon, while heating oil increased 0.90% to $2.2481 a gallon. Natural gas futures slipped 0.74% to $2.954 per million British thermal units.

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