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OPEC decides to keep current oil output
Date:2010/12/14      View:1037
OPEC ministers have decided to keep oil output at current levels, citing ample inventories amid persisting global economic uncertainty and a price of just under US$90 a barrel.

The 12-member cartel said on Saturday after an unusually short meeting in Quito, Ecuador, that it based its decision on projections showing demand for crude would grow more slowly in 2011 than this year.

Its statement also cited the "challenging risks to the fragile global economic recovery" including "fears of a second banking crisis in Europe."

The world's major industrialized nations continue to face "lower industrial output, lagging private consumption as well as persistently high unemployment," the ministers added.

"The market is in balance and is stable," Oil Minister Ali Naimi of Saudi Arabia, OPEC's biggest producer, told reporters. "The fundamentals are good." Suffering a cold, he left quickly after the closed-door meeting, which lasted less than two hours.

OPEC's next scheduled gathering is June 2 in Vienna, its home. Asked whether it could convene earlier if prices were to shoot up, the group's secretary-general, Abdulla Salem El-Badri said that is always a possibility.

"OPEC is always ready to meet when there is important change in the market," he said.

There was much discussion about whether oil would soon broach the psychological price barrier of US$100 - or even climb nearer its 2008 historic peak of US$147 a barrel.

Venezuela's minister, Rafael Ramirez, said he thought such a price was "proper" considering how much producers invest in removing crude from the ground.

The "no-change" announcement was widely anticipated and four of the cartel's ministers - from Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar and Nigeria - did not even make the trip, sending lower-level delegates to the Andean capital.
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