Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 01 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Coverage of Gaza in the Israeli media

Read more

REPORTERS

1914-1918: The Depths of Hell

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 01 August 2014

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Exclusive: Israel's US ambassador speaks to FRANCE 24

Read more

#THE 51%

World War One: The war that changed women’s lives

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Ségolène Royal goes for green

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

A look back at some of the Observers' best stories

Read more

DEBATE

Argentina Defaults: Kirchner Cries Foul Over 'Vulture Funds' (part 2)

Read more

  • Israeli soldier feared captured, ceasefire 'over'

    Read more

  • Exclusive: Israel's US ambassador speaks to FRANCE 24

    Read more

  • Police 'chokehold' caused NYC death, coroner rules

    Read more

  • Air France ground workers to strike on August 2

    Read more

  • Rogue general denies Islamist seizure of Benghazi

    Read more

  • Ugandan court strikes down anti-gay legislation

    Read more

  • 1914-1918: The Depths of Hell

    Read more

  • Regional summit to tackle deadly Ebola outbreak

    Read more

  • French hospital to open wine bar for terminally ill patients

    Read more

  • Video: Tipping is dying out in French café culture

    Read more

  • €2.5 million in cocaine ‘disappears’ from Paris police HQ

    Read more

  • Appeal court keeps French rogue trader Kerviel in jail

    Read more

  • Interactive: France’s new plan to counter jihadism in Africa

    Read more

  • Ukrainian army suffers losses in separatist attack

    Read more

  • Argentinian markets plummet following default

    Read more

  • French Jews speak of growing fear in Paris amid Gaza conflict

    Read more

OPEC poised to keep output steady

Latest update : 2008-03-05

The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) began a policy meeting in Vienna on Wednesday. The cartel was expected to leave oil output unchanged despite US demands for a hike.

VIENNA - OPEC ministers were on Wednesday poised to hold output steady, resisting pressure from top consumer the United States to pump more oil to help prop up a fragile economy.

OPEC has said triple-digit oil has been driven by factors beyond its control, such as a weak dollar and speculation and not by any lack of fuel.

U.S. crude hit a record of $103.95 a barrel on Monday and was trading at around $100 on Wednesday.

Washington has said even a token supply increase from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries would help to tame prices.

But OPEC ministers, including those closely allied with the United States, see things differently. Most have said output should be kept steady and a minority has backed a cut.

The group's most influential minister Ali al-Naimi of Saudi Arabia said in an interview published on Wednesday there was no need to change output because market fundamentals were healthy.

Oil's rally, he said, was the result of "tremendous speculation".

"This speculation has no link to the stable market fundamentals, which do not need any action," the al-Hayat newspaper quoted Naimi as saying.

"Why then should any new action be taken if the health of the market that we follow...is sound?"

OPEC's President Chakib Khelil of Algeria also told Reuters on Wednesday he expected output policy to stay unchanged.

"As far as I know there is nothing new," he said.

LOWER DEMAND, HIGHER STOCKS?


But Khelil and other ministers have predicted stock levels could build during the second quarter when consumption typically tapers off following the end of winter.

He has also said a seasonal decline in demand could be exaggerated by the impact of economic slowdown.

Concerns about the U.S. economy have already helped to pull oil prices down from the record hit at the start of the week.

Washington said a modest output increase of 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 500,000 bpd could calm prices and help to contain any economic damage.

"I think it's a mistake to have your biggest customer's economy to slow down ... as a result of high energy prices," U.S. President George W. Bush said on Tuesday.

Regardless of any formal output decision, OPEC members can adjust production quietly.

Saudi Arabia has been pumping steadily at about 9.2 million bpd for several months, some 300,000 bpd above its formal OPEC target, a senior Gulf OPEC delegate said on Wednesday.

The exporter group's 13 members, who pump more than a third of the world's oil, could have an opportunity to reassess the market at producer-consumer talks in Rome on April 20-22.

Date created : 2008-03-05

COMMENT(S)