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Business

Barrel slumps below $45 after Opec stays put

©

Latest update : 2009-03-16

Oil prices dropped below 45 dollars a barrel in Asian trade after the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) opted not to cut production during a weekend meeting in Vienna.

AFP - World oil prices tumbled below 45 dollars a barrel in Asian trade Monday after the OPEC cartel decided during a weekend meeting not to cut output.

New York's main futures contract, light sweet crude for April, fell 1.75 dollars to 44.50 dollars a barrel in morning trade.

Brent North Sea crude for delivery in April declined 1.60 dollars to 43.33.

Some analysts had expected the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to slash production during its meeting in Vienna on Sunday in a bid to shore up prices, which have tumbled from historic highs after the global economic crisis weakened energy demand.

But the cartel, which pumps about 40 percent of the world's crude, decided to hold off from further cuts.

OPEC oil ministers delayed the decision until at least May to give the Group of 20 rich and emerging nations (G20) time to respond to the economic crisis. G20 leaders are to meet next month to discuss tackling the global slowdown.

"The fall in value hasn't been that much... Prices are still higher than six to seven months ago," said Dave Ernsberger, senior editorial director for Asia at energy information giant Platts.

"There's no panic... the market doesn't have a really big response to OPEC's decision so far."

OPEC Secretary General Abdalla Salem El-Badri explained that the cartel could effectively tighten conditions on the oil market by making sure that member states fully adhered to cuts agreed last year.

OPEC has already slashed its output three times since September as crude prices slumped from peaks of more than 147 dollars in July 2008.

At the last output meeting in December in Oran, Algeria, OPEC cut a record 2.2 million barrels per day from its output quota, bringing the total cuts over three meetings to 4.2 million barrels per day.
 

Date created : 2009-03-16

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