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The European Commission announced yesterday it endorsed a decision to impose duties on imported USA goods in response to US President Donald Trump's move on aluminum and steel tariffs.

Venezuela wrote to fellow OPEC members urging them to unite against US sanctions, echoing a similar letter from Iran, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

"It's insane and astonishing to see instruction coming from Washington to Saudi to act and replace a shortfall of Iran's export due to their Illegal sanction on Iran and Venezuela", Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, Iran's representative to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), told Reuters.

Prices were pushed up by supply trouble in Venezuela, where state-owned oil firm PDVSA is struggling to clear a backlog of around 24 million barrels of crude waiting to be shipped to customers.

Washington was anxious that the sanctions would curb deliveries from Iran and push oil prices up, the sources said. The producers have been considering a supply increase of up to 1 million barrels per day, sources told Reuters.

OPEC and its allies led by Russian Federation have cut a combined 1.8 million barrels per day of output since January 2017 and the cuts are due to expire at the end of 2018.

"OPEC will not bow and obey" to US pressure to increase oil production, said Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, one of Iran's representatives to the organization.

Since the original global sanctions were lifted in January 2016, Iran has struggled to raise production above 4 million barrels per day. Domestic production rose to 10.8 million barrels per day from 10.77 million barrels a day the week before. Prices have been trading under pressure following comments from Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia that they could consider curbing their output cuts when they meet on June 22.

Oil ministers from OPEC will be meeting at the group's Vienna headquarters to discuss output policy.

But US oil had rebounded by Tuesday's close amid expectations US crude oil stockpiles likely fell for a second week last week.

The U.S. request was widely known among industry weatchers.

Aramco raised pricing for all grades to Northwest Europe and the Mediterranean region and for most crudes to the US, where only Extra Light was left unchanged.

Reuters reported in late May that OPEC and its allies could raise production by about 1 million bpd from July to address any potential oil shortages.

Analysts insist oil prices are heading higher.

The company is raising pricing to Asia as competing barrels from fellow OPEC producers Venezuela and Iran have dwindled from that market or are expected to become more scarce in coming months.


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