In early afternoon trading on 21 August, the price of West Texas Intermediate oil rose by 5 per cent to $122.04 on the New York Mercantile Exchange, a gain of almost $10 on the previous week but still some $25 shy of the all-time record of $147.27 set on 11 July.

Russia, the world’s second biggest oil producer, accused the US of starting a new arms race after Washington signed a defence pact with Poland to install 10 interceptor missiles on the EU country’s Baltic Sea coast.

Moscow has threatened to target the new installation, warning Poland that its part in the deal exposed it to Russian military strikes, including the possibility of strikes using nuclear missiles.

Earlier in the week, the US Energy Information Administration warned that declining crude oil prices are likely to result in lower oil supplies from Saudi Arabia, which recently increased its output in July to 9.7 million-barrels-a-day (b/d).

Venezuela says it is may propose a cut in oil output at the next Opec meeting on 9 September if crude prices continued to drop as they have in recent weeks.