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Trump again blasts OPEC for rising gasoline prices

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Trump again blasts OPEC for rising gasoline prices

Washington — US President Donald Trump Wednesday again tweeted critical comments against OPEC, claiming that the producers' group was driving up domestic gasoline prices while the US provides many members with military assistance.

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"The OPEC Monopoly must remember that gas prices are up & they are doing little to help," Trump tweeted shortly before 5 pm EDT (2100 GMT) Wednesday. "If anything, they are driving prices higher as the United States defends many of their members for very little $'s. This must be a two way street. REDUCE PRICING NOW!"

Wednesday's tweet was the fifth Trump tweet since April 20 aimed at OPEC's influence over oil prices.

On Saturday, Trump tweeted that he had asked Saudi King Salman to increase oil output by as much as 2 million b/d to counter the impact of supply losses from Iran and Venezuela.

"He has agreed," Trump tweeted of the Saudi ruler.

Analysts and market observers have told S&P Global Platts that Trump's tweets are an attempt to defer blame for rising oil prices. But, they point out, prices are largely rising due to Trump's own policies, particularly his plan to re-impose sanctions on Iran.

"I don't see these tweets as effective," former US Energy Secretary Bill Richardson told Platts Tuesday. "I think it gets the OPEC members, especially the Saudis, irritated and they feel pressured."

During the Clinton administration, Richardson met privately with Ali Naimi, Saudi Arabia's then-oil minister, and other OPEC representatives and encouraged them to keep prices stable through increased production.

"I did it quietly, because I think if you do it openly, they feel pressured and it limits their ability to manage the situation," Richardson said. --Brian Scheid,

--Edited by Maurice Geller,