By Ovunc Kutlu
U.S. President Donald Trump thanked Saudi Arabia for low crude oil prices Wednesday, a day after reaffirming his support for the Kingdom despite the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
"Oil prices getting lower. Great! Like a big Tax Cut for America and the World. Enjoy! $54, was just $82. Thank you to Saudi Arabia, but let’s go lower!" Trump wrote on Twitter.
Before the U.S. reimposed sanctions on Iran on Nov. 5, oil prices jumped to their highest level in four years in October. Brent crude hit $86.74 on Oct. 3, and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) climbed to $76.90.
After the U.S. granted waivers to eight major importing nations of Iranian crude, rising oil production worldwide created fears of oversupply in global market.
Lower global oil demand and weaker estimates for global economic growth continue to worry investors that crude demand could fall through 2019.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) was the latest organization with a gloomy outlook Wednesday that lowered global growth forecast for next year to 3.5 percent, from 3.7 percent.
Since the beginning of October, crude prices fell about 30 percent and sank into the bear market territory, with Brent plummeting to $61.71 Tuesday and WTI sinking to $52.77.
Trump said last week he hoped Saudi Arabia and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) would not cut production in the cartel's much awaited meeting next month.
He also reaffirmed his support for Saudi Arabia on Tuesday and said the U.S. "intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia” and called the kingdom “a great ally,” despite Khashoggi’s killing.
The comments were condemned by American intelligence officials and lawmakers from both major political parties.
Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, Bob Corker, wrote on Twitter: “I never thought I’d see the day a White House would moonlight as a public relations firm for the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia."
The Democratic ranking member of the committee, Bob Menendez, along with Corker, wrote a letter to Trump demanding his administration determine if the journalist’s murder was ordered by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and columnist for The Washington Post, went missing after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.
After weeks of denial, Saudi Arabia admitted Khashoggi was killed in the diplomatic building.
An Investigation by Turkey suggests a special hit squad went to the consulate, scouted Istanbul’s Belgrad Forest, and tried to cover up evidence at the consulate.
The international community refused to accept the Saudis’ claim that the killing was not a premeditated murder.
Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stressed all details of the case should be revealed, including who gave instructions for “premeditated murder.”
Trump said he could impose sanctions on Saudi Arabia, but also signaled he did not want to harm bilateral relations.
Last week, the U.S. sanctioned 17 people tied to Khashoggi's murder, including the Saudi Consul General in Istanbul Mohammad al-Otaibi.