Opec resolves to keep its production targets unchanged

City A.M. Reporter
OPEC yesterday kept intact a supply policy that has served it well for nearly two years and set aside concern a weak dollar could drive the oil price too high for a fragile world economy.

Ecuador, which holds the rotating presidency of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, confirmed the no-change decision and said the group’s next conference would be in Quito on 11 December.

Earlier an Opec delegate said the ministers had been “100 per cent” in agreement there was no need to change policy. Oil prices did not react to the widely-expected Opec news, but held above $83 a barrel, drawing support from a weak dollar, which has stoked buying across commodities.

Although slightly above the $70-$80 price range, which top exporter Saudi Arabia has said is ideal for producers and consumers, the kingdom’s oil minister said he was still happy with the market.

“The biggest challenge we have is to keep the oil market as it is today,” Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said. He declined to be drawn on a price level that might endanger economic recovery, but said producers were concerned about a possible slide back into recession. “I hope we don’t have a double dip. Everybody is working very hard to avoid it.”

The oil market has gained momentum as heightened expectation of more quantitative easing to stimulate the US economy has weakened the US dollar. So far oil’s gains have been relatively modest as the dollar impact on oil has been countered by weak market fundamentals.