Oil near US$74 amid Trump tweets, forecast drop in United States stockpile

President Rouhani talks to Iranian expatriates in Bern Switzerland

Oil was mixed on Friday, with short-covering pushing up USA crude futures while Brent slipped on global trade tensions and increased Saudi production.

Top exporter Saudi Arabia told OPEC it raised oil output by nearly 500,000 barrels per day last month, OPEC sources said, a sign Riyadh wants to make up for shortages elsewhere and dampen prices.

"The OPEC Monopoly must remember that gas prices are up & they are doing little to help", Trump wrote on his personal Twitter account.

Brent crude, the global benchmark, was down 19 cents at $77.20 a barrel while US crude slipped 2 cents to $72.92.

Iran has threatened to block oil exports through a key Gulf waterway in retaliation for U.S. efforts to reduce Iranian oil sales to zero.

August West Texas Intermediate crude, the USA benchmark, on the New York Mercantile Exchange, fell 55 cents, or 0.8 percent to $72.39 a barrel.

Saudi Arabia has told OPEC it pumped 10.488 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil last month, an increase of 458,000 bpd from the level it said it produced in May, OPEC sources told Reuters on Thursday.

The recent strength in oil prices has in part been spurred by a US announcement that it plans to reintroduce sanctions against Iran, OPEC's third-largest producer, from November, targeting oil exports.

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OPEC and Russian Federation announced in June they were willing to raise output to address concerns of emerging supply shortages due to unplanned disruptions from Venezuela to Libya, and likely also to replace a potential fall in Iranian supplies due to United States sanctions.

Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh talks to journalists at the beginning of an OPEC meeting in Vienna, Austria, June 22, 2018.

"A key driver of the rise in prices has been the OPEC-Russia deal to cut oil output, compounded by collapsing Venezuelan production and the US decision to end the Iran deal", National Australia Bank (NAB) said in its July outlook.

USA production remained steady at 10.9 million bpd for a third week in a row.

Goldman Sachs said the market will stay in deficit in the second half of the year as actual and potential supply losses from Iran, Venezuela, Libya and Canada far exceed the proposed boost from Opec and its partners.

Iran has threatened to block oil exports through a key Gulf waterway in retaliation against any hostile USA action.

US tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese imports took effect as a deadline passed on Friday and Beijing has vowed to respond in kind.

Zanganeh added that neither Iranian oil production nor its exports had changed as a result of United States pressure.

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