Donald Trump is “the most effective” OPEC member, according to Helima Croft, chief commodities strategist at RBC Capital Markets.
“If you look at OPEC compliance, he’s doing a lot to actually keep compliance really high,” Croft said in an interview Monday in New York. “Through Trump administration policy, you had Iranian production off the market. Putting PDVSA on the sanctions list will move Venezuelan production another leg lower.”
Oil settled at $69.37 a barrel Tuesday for the global benchmark price, a new high for 2019, building on gains after having its best quarter in 10 years. The market has responded in part to production cuts put in place by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies at the start of the year.
Trump administration officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have said they are committed to driving Iranian oil exports to zero. Vice President Mike Pence said Tuesday that the U.S. is taking action to isolate Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s regime, after meeting with the families of six Citgo Petroleum Corp. executives being detained in that country.
Croft, who started her career scrutinizing the geopolitics of oil with the Central Intelligence Agency before moving to Wall Street, also called Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih a kind of “central banker of oil” as he leads the OPEC+ alliance.