Morgan Stanley raised its Brent crude forecast to $85 a barrel next year, while U.S. President Donald Trump continued to push top OPEC producer Saudi Arabia to pump more and reduce petroleum prices for consumers. On the US's official day of independence (July 4), the President repeated a threat that OPEC nations should lower their oil prices in return for the security support they receive from the US. Some members should remember that the United States is defending them for little reciprocal benefits, he added.
Rising gasoline prices in the United States 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 USA economy, Reuters wrote in its report.
Involuntary drops in supply in Venezuela, Angola and Libya have made the cutbacks even bigger, although OPEC - led by Saudi Arabia - has since agreed to a modest increase in output. "Whose pricing is higher". "Under these circumstances it is justified to argue for higher prices when production increases are announced", PVM Oil Associates strategist Tamas Varga said, CNBC reported.
Brent crude futures were at $77.68 per barrel at 0532 GMT, down 56 cents, or 0.7%, from their last close.
Oil prices have climbed sharply in recent months, with the price of a barrel hitting a multi-year high of around $78 on Wednesday.
USA oil futures surged past $75/bbl on Tuesday for the first time since 2014.
"You are hammering on good guys in OPEC", he said.
Prices have risen as a result of Washington's plans to reimpose sanctions against Iran, OPEC's No. 3 producer, analysts said.
However, the Chinese government has not yet specified a date on which it may introduce duties on imports of USA crude.
Beginning midnight Washington time on Friday, the USA imposed new tariffs on US$34 billion worth of annual imports from China, to which Beijing responded by saying that it was imposing tariffs on USA goods.
Iran's petroleum minister said that "political issues should not interfere in the crude market, and supply and demand should determine the final oil price". Suggesting that OPEC countries should produce more crude oil to increase supply and lower prices if they want to keep America's strategic partnership, he said: "This must be a two-way street". An Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander warned that Iran might blockade the narrow, strategic Strait of Hormuz if Trump stopped oil exports, a move some considered unlikely since Iran's own imports pass through the Strait. Iran insists that production limits OPEC set in late 2016 still apply, and that any countries who increase beyond these levels are undermining the unity of the organization.