WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump on Wednesday urged Opec members not to slash production at their upcoming meeting, saying global oil prices should remain low.
Trump’s comment came as members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and other oil-producing nations prepared to meet Thursday and Friday in Vienna to discuss lowering their output.
“Hopefully Opec will be keeping oil flows as is, not restricted. The world does not want to see, or need, higher oil prices!” Trump said on Twitter.
If the 20 or so Opec members and other nations at the Vienna talks — which account for more than half of the world’s oil — continue to pump at current record levels, they risk seeing prices continue to tumble.
Prices have already plunged more than 30% over the past two months and a barrel of Brent crude, the European benchmark, currently stands at around US$60.
But if oil producers close the taps, they risk choking off the global economy, which needs affordable oil to keep running.
Trump has repeatedly accused the oil cartel of keeping prices artificially high.
That has put OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia in a delicate position — Riyadh is keen not to incur Trump’s wrath as relations between the two countries become increasingly complicated in the wake of the murder of opposition journalist Jamal Khashoggi.