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Trump Spoke to Saudi Crown Prince Before Oil Production Hike


By Jennifer Jacobs

(Bloomberg) U.S. President Donald Trump spoke with Mohammed bin Salman by phone before the Saudi crown prince escalated the oil-price war Tuesday by increasing production, according to two people familiar with the call.

The discussion comes as Saudi Arabia and Russia engage in a battle of economic might over the global oil market, and pull in the U.S. shale industry as a result.

The White House later confirmed the call, though it wasn’t immediately clear if the crown prince informed Trump about his plans.

The call occurred prior to 5 a.m. in Washington — before the 34-year-old crown prince escalated the oil price war with Russia by moving to flood the market with crude. That action came one day after the oil market suffered its deepest rout since 1991.

Russian President Vladimir Putin helped kick off the fight in the first place to inflict a blow on the U.S.

The call came after the U.S. Department of Energy denounced “attempts by state actors to manipulate and shock oil markets.” The department didn’t name Saudi Arabia nor Russia.

Trump’s defense of the U.S. oil and shale industry is crucial to his 2020 re-election effort, as it’s one of the major industries and employers in Texas, which is one of the key electoral states in the presidential race.



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