Rising oil prices at the start of 2018 prompted President Donald Trump to unleash a barrage of abusive tweets at OPEC. This year, the oil market is giving the commander-in-chief plenty of ammunition.
The cost of Brent crude oil is now higher than it was at the same time last year. The international benchmark for oil prices hit a four-month high at $68.69 on Thursday, and big banks like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are warning Brent will soon rise toward $75 a barrel.
Brent has rallied 27 percent his year, while U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude is up 32 percent in 2019 — though WTI is still trailing last year's price a this time. The oil market is drawing support from OPEC-led production cuts, Trump's sanctions against Iran and Venezuela and demand growth that is beating bearish forecasts.
The setup was similar last year when Trump fired his first presidential salvo at OPEC at the end of April, followed by several more tweets throughout 2018. Trump went silent after OPEC defied him by launching new production cuts in December, but last month, he put the group on notice.
@realDonaldTrump: Oil prices getting too high. OPEC, please relax and take it easy. World cannot take a price hike - fragile!
"You've got to believe we're due for a Trump tweet at some point," said John Kilduff, founding partner at energy hedge fund Again Capital.