Biden begs big oil buyers to help cool prices

U.S. President Joe Biden is seeking action to cool rising prices for crude.

Reuters sources say Washington has asked big Asian buyers of oil to consider tapping their reserves to take the pressure off supplies.

The request was reportedly aimed at countries including India, Japan and - for the first time - China.

Benchmark oil prices fell as much as 4% following the Reuters report, before recovering much of the losses.

Analysts say the U.S. request is a rare move that reflects frustration with OPEC.

The oil producers' group has rebuffed calls to increase output to cool off prices.

Though it has gradually reversed the record cuts to production it made last year.

Now a coordinated release involving China would mark an unprecedented challenge to OPEC.

Beijing's state reserve bureau says it is working on releasing some reserves, but wouldn't comment on the U.S. request.

A Japanese official said that, by law, the country cannot release reserves in order to move prices.

In South Korea an official confirmed that it too had received the U.S. request.

Reuters sources say Biden and top aides have discussed a coordinated release with allies over the past few weeks.

But OPEC remains resistant to big moves.

It says the rebound in demand for oil could prove fragile, and says there are already signs of a surplus building up next year.

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