June 29 (UPI) — Weak U.S. spending was indicative of concerns about the lack of available oil in the second half of the year that led to gains Friday in the price of oil.
“With the Trump administration working towards zero Iranian exports by November, Libyan oil supplies at risk due to clashes with militias, and crashing supply from Venezuela, reports of tightening U.S. supply is keeping oil on edge,” Phil Flynn, the senior market analyst for the PRICE Futures Group in Chicago, said in a daily emailed newsletter.
The price for Brent crude oil, the global benchmark for the price of oil, was up 1.04 percent as of 9:17 a.m. EDT to $78.42 per barrel. West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark for the price of oil, was up 0.37 percent to $73.72 per barrel.
The price for Brent crude oil is up about 5 percent from Monday.
Libya, Iran and Venezuela are all members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and all three are facing ongoing production and export issues. U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the U.N-backed nuclear agreement with Iran in May means tough sanctions snap back into place for one of OPEC’s top producers in early November.
Trump’s policies are creating concerns at home as well. Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott sent a letter to the White House warning that Trump’s tariffs on imported aluminum and steel could impede growth in the U.S. oil and gas sector.
Higher oil prices are leading to higher fuel prices for American consumers gearing up for a potential long holiday weekend next week in honor of Independence Day, July 4. Retail gasoline prices are the highest they’ve been in four years, eroding some of the temporary benefits from Trump’s tax reforms.
Speaking at a global gas conference on Thursday, U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry acknowledged that lack of Iranian barrels was a stress on the market, but expressed confidence that outside suppliers could make up for the difference.
“We look at this as an opportunity for OPEC members to fill this gap, if you will,” Perry was quoted by S&P Global Platts as saying.
In the economy, the U.S. Commerce Department reported Friday that consumers spent less on goods and services last month than they did in April. Personal consumption expenditures increased 0.2 percent last month, compared with 0.5 percent in April. That comes as personal income levels increased 0.4 percent in May, against the 0.2 percent reported in April.