OPEC meeting leaves oil output unchanged

15:04, December 12, 2010      

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OPEC ministers announced Saturday the oil output would remain unchanged, while Saudi Arabia said it favors a price between 70 to 80 dollars per barrel.

The annoucement came as a relief for oil consumers, who were worrying that the rising oil price would soon break the psychological barrier of 100 dollars, thus hampering the global economic recovery.

The developed nations are still burdened with "lower industrial output, lagging private consumption as well as persistently high unemployment," the ministers said.

"Seventy to 80 dollars per barrel is a good price," Saudi Oil Minster Ali al-Naimi said, adding that the price is tolerable for consumers.

The oil price has hovered around the mid-80 dollar mark over the past year, but on Tuesday, U.S. crude hit a two-year high of nearly 91 dollars, compounding consumers' fears that the oil price could get of control.

Some OPEC members argued that the speculators had pushed the prices up and that the demand for crude is not that strong.

"At this moment, demand is not good," Iran's Oil Minister Masoud Mir- Kazem said.

Venezuela, however, disagreed where the price was concerned, saying that 100 dollars per barrel is an adequate price to compensate high production costs.

In its global oil demand forecast, the International Energy Agency (IEA) predicted a boost in consumption in North America and China next year, saying daily demand would jump to 88.8 million barrels, 260,000 more than the previous prediction.

Despite current abundant oil supplies in major industralized nations and China, the OPEC believed that European demand would be dampened by its festering debt.

The OPEC has sufficient supplies, and if there is a shortage in the market, they would open the taps to meet extra demand, OPEC Secretary-General Abdullah al-Badri said.

But "if prices go high because of speculation, we can do nothing about it," al-Badri said.

Source: Xinhua
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