December 5, 2018 / 2:59 PM / 14 days ago

Ahead of OPEC meeting, Trump urges producers to keep oil flowing

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump talks to reporters as he departs on travel to the G20 Summit in Argentina from the White House in Washington, U.S., November 29, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday called on the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies not to cut oil production next year, saying it would trigger higher oil prices worldwide.

“Hopefully OPEC will be keeping oil flows as is, not restricted. The World does not want to see, or need, higher oil prices!” Trump wrote in a tweet ahead of the group’s meeting this week to discuss possible cuts.

OPEC meets in Vienna on Thursday to weigh production and on Friday will hold talks with allies such as Russia. Official U.S. government oil production and inventory data are also due on Thursday.

Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s de facto leader, has pressed for steep output reductions but has faced pressure from Trump to keep oil flows steady to keep prices low, rather than reduce inventory.

Trump, who has made the U.S. economy one of his top issues, has frequently complained about OPEC this year, as higher crude oil prices have in turn raised fuel prices for consumers and businesses.

Russia’s TASS news agency reported on Wednesday that OPEC and its partners may return production quotas to 2016 levels by reducing oil production by more than 1 million barrels per day. Oil markets rose on Wednesday ahead of the meeting.

Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Doina Chiacu and David Gregorio

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