Trump, Iran spar over oil prices ahead of OPEC meeting

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Rising oil prices have created question marks over the strength of demand, but the IEA left its oil demand growth forecast for 2019 largely unchanged, at 1.4 million barrels a day (mb/d), similar to this year's level. Despite the growth, the Saudi supply remains compliant with the deal.

U.S. President Donald Trump repeated criticism of OPEC in another tweet on Wednesday, blaming the group for keeping prices too high.

Saudi production rose to 10.03 million barrels per day in May, in line with deal quotas, according to OPEC data.

As a follow-up of oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan's idea floated at the International Energy Forum (IEF) meeting here in April, Indian Oil chairman Sanjiv Singh travelled to Beijing this month to meet Wang Yilin, chairman of China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), a top source said.

The 14-country bloc's next meeting is June 22, when ministers will gather in the Austrian capital amid speculation that Saudi Arabia may push for more flexibility on production quotas in anticipation of sustained declines in Venezuela and the impact of United States sanctions on Iran. The two countries together accounted for nearly 17% of world oil consumption previous year, making them ideally suited to take on the oil exporting cartel.

OPEC will meet on June 22 in Vienna, Austria, to discuss future production policy.

Crude has more than doubled since bottoming out below $30 a barrel in early 2016, causing USA motorists to face the highest gasoline prices since late 2014.

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The IEA's latest report comes amid uncertainty over the amount of oil production we can expect to see from major producers in coming months.

Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) chairman Sanjiv Singh met Wang Yilin, chairman of China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) in Beijing on Monday and held discussions to facilitate more USA crude oil imports to Asia to cut the dominance of OPEC.

"Even if the Iran/Venezuela supply gap is plugged, the market will be finely balanced next year, and vulnerable to prices rising higher in the event of further disruption", the report said.

Production fell in Nigeria, Libya and Venezuela, but increased in Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Iraq. They have shown discipline in limiting production since the start of a year ago, helping push up the benchmark price of global crude. "This outlook for second half of 2018 warrants close monitoring of the factors impacting both world oil demand and non-OPEC supply that will shape the outlook of the oil market going forward". The Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) representing the 24 Opec and non-Opec producing countries participating in the voluntary production adjustments will next meet in Vienna on June 21.

Rising US stocks partly reflect a surge in US crude production, which has jumped by nearly a third in the last two years to a record 10.8 million barrels per day.

"And that really caused the euro to take a dip and the (U.S.) dollar to go up, which is putting downward pressure on prices", said Phil Flynn, analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.