OPEC oil prices rise with fluctuations in narrow range

08:22, March 16, 2010      

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The weekly average price of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) continued to rise to 77.71 U.S. dollars per barrel last week, up by 1.42 dollars over a week ago, the Vienna-based cartel said Monday.

Over the entire week, OPEC's oil prices remained at a high level, fluctuating at a narrow range between 77.38 dollars and 77.86 dollars.

Last week, major international energy agencies, in their latest reports, all predicted a growth for international crude oil demand this year. The International Energy Agency (IEA) predicted the global oil consumption for 2010 will grow by 1.8 percent while the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) put the growth figure at 1.7 percent. OPEC says the 2010 world oil demand will increase by 900,000 barrels per day, 100,000 barrels more than its previous forecast.

Analysts say the gradual recovery of the global economy will promote a further growth of oil demand, which is likely to lead to a rise in oil prices.

However, there are still many uncertainties in the world economic recovery, which could affect the international crude oil market. Last week, the falling consumer confidence index released by the University of Michigan posed a pressure on the upward movement of the international oil prices.

On March 17, OPEC oil ministers will meet in Vienna to discuss the oil production quota for the next phase. Market watchers believe the OPEC ministers are likely to keep the crude oil output quotas unchanged.

Source: Xinhua
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