Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

ENCORE!

Haute Couture: the hand-stitched clothing made in Paris that sells for the price of small yachts

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Caution, another Cast Lead lies ahead'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Rising into the ranks of Haute Couture

Read more

DEBATE

Gaza: How to Stop the Spiral? Israel Readies For Ground Offensive

Read more

DEBATE

Gaza: How to Stop the Spiral? Israel Readies For Ground Offensive (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

A thin line between fact-checking and propaganda in Gaza social media coverage

Read more

#THE 51%

Sweden: A Feminist's Paradise?

Read more

FOCUS

Ireland's missing babies cast light on dark history

Read more

WEB NEWS

World Cup 2014: Germany-Brazil inspires the Web

Read more

  • Amazon snubs French free delivery ban with one-cent charge

    Read more

  • Are French high school students getting smarter?

    Read more

  • Disgraced Suarez leaves Liverpool for Barcelona

    Read more

  • Kurdish forces take over two oilfields in northern Iraq

    Read more

  • In Pictures: Petrol station hit by Hamas rockets

    Read more

  • Manhunt as FIFA partner flees Rio hotel to avoid arrest

    Read more

  • Video: Living in Tel Aviv, under threat of rocket attack

    Read more

  • Video: Palestinians fear full Israeli military offensive in Gaza

    Read more

  • US prepared to negotiate Gaza ceasefire, Obama says

    Read more

  • French companies will have to accept anonymous CVs

    Read more

  • Ukrainian forces close in on Donetsk

    Read more

  • Germany asks US intelligence station chief to leave country

    Read more

  • Video: Muslims in China confront obstacles to Ramadan fasting

    Read more

  • Tour de France passes WWI Chemin des Dames battlefield

    Read more

  • Senegalese man awarded French visa in gay marriage debate

    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

Comments

COMMENT(S)