Donald Trump thanks Saudi Arabia for 'lower oil prices'

Donald Trump thanks Saudi Arabia for 'lower oil prices'
The US president has routinely tweeted about his displeasure with high oil prices and his goal to see them lowered.
2 min read
21 November, 2018
Trump at a campaign rally in 2016 [Getty]

US President Donald Trump thanked Washington ally Saudi Arabia for lower oil prices, one day after he pledged to remain a "steadfast partner" of Riyadh despite mounting international outrage over the murder of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi last month.

"Oil prices getting lower. Great! Like a big Tax Cut for America and the World. Enjoy! $54, was just $82," he tweeted. 

"Thank you to Saudi Arabia, but let's go lower!"

The remarks came a day after Trump linked his decision to continue backing the petro-state -- despite Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's alleged involvement in Khashoggi's death -- to his desire to keep oil prices low.

"If we broke with them, I think your oil prices would go through the roof. I've kept them down," he told reporters at the White House.  

"They've helped me keep them down. Right now we have low oil prices, or relatively". 

Oil recovered slightly on Wednesday after slumping more than six percent, with traders fretting that Saudi Arabia may not deliver on planned production cuts.

Trump's support for Riyadh has been taken by some observers as a move to prevent them from lowering output at the December meeting of OPEC and non-OPEC members.

The gruesome murder of Khashoggi, a US resident and Washington Post columnist who vanished after being lured into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October, has hugely embarrassed Washington.

Trump made his first foreign visit as US president to the kingdom, and has touted Saudi Arabia and its powerful crown as lynchpins of his regional aims to contain Iran.

But Khashoggi's killing torpedoed a PR campaign led by the crown prince to show that the ultra-conservative state has embarked on a new reformist path. 

Just last week, Trump had criticised Saudi Arabia for an announcement it would cut production to boost oil prices.

High oil prices make fracking more economically viable for the US, now one of the largest producers of oil worldwide. However, high prices also hit businesses and consumers with more costs that are a drag on the US economy. 

Trump repeatedly referenced his unhappiness with high oil prices in the lead up to midterm elections that saw Democrats retake the House but his Republican Party retain the Senate. 

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