Why Oil Prices Are Rebounding Despite What Trump Wants

November 14, 2018, 2:48 PM UTC

Donald Trump has been clear about oil prices: He wants them lower, as CNBC reported last week. The president even took credit for a big slide—prices are down about 25% since October.

Supply, demand, and expectations look as though they’ll confound his wishes.

Mid-October prices had hit a six-month high. There were two reasons for the recent climb: Trump’s trade policies and macroeconomic factors, as Fortune reported. The former creates uncertainty that traders factor into their deals, affecting futures pricing.

Additionally, Russia and OPEC reduced production to lower global oil stockpiles, which act as pricing shock absorbers. The less oil in storage, the more prices react to economic fluctuations.

For example, West Texas intermediate topped $76 and Brent closed in on $86 in October in part because of Saudi Arabia’s promise to retaliate against any punishment over the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, as Fortune reported.

Putting the brakes on a rise has been U.S. production, which is up 6% since September, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration figures. as the largest global oil producer, that helped moderate prices.

All that may be changing. Goldman Sachs has predicted that prices will resume their rise, topping $80 before the year’s end, as Fortune reported. Today, Brent crude is up 0.63% and West Texas intermediate, 0.33%.

Part of the expected rise is due to China consuming internal reserves, making import data look low. Two other factors are OPEC talk of cutting production, as CNBC reported, and the Iran sanctions, reintroduced by the administration. So, Trump is partly responsible for the change in direction.

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