US reportedly not considering oil export ban

Reuters reports sources familiar with thinking in the White House as saying that the administration is not considering banning the export of crude oil in order to bring down fuel prices for consumers.

Retail gasoline prices in the United States are currently about a dollar more per gallon than a year ago, prompting some legislators to call for an export ban on crude oil to bring down prices, which have risen substantially this year as a post-lockdown recovery in demand outstripped supply.

Nevertheless, another bipartisan group of legislators has come out against an export ban, pointing out that it may actually make matters worse by excluding US oil from the global supply network. Instead, the group proposes the government should encourage US oil producers to increase production. It had previously requested that OPEC increase production faster, but the cartel has so far stuck rigidly to its planned unwinding of production cuts.

Oil markets appear to have stabilised at the moment, with Brent Crude trading at around $75 at the time of writing. If the reports are correct, the absence of a US export ban should help maintain this stability and prevent the price gap between WTI and Brent Crude from widening.

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