News In Brief

Disarray at OPEC meeting could bring on price cut

Any lack of unity among OPEC oil ministers meeting in Geneva starting tomorrow could depress demand for OPEC oil and threaten another oil price cut, the Middle East Economic Survey (MEES) said Monday.

Some OPEC members - Iran, Iraq, Venezuela, and Indonesia - want higher production quotas.

The Nicosia-based oil and finance newsletter said market operators would base their short-term expectations on the meeting. If OPEC reaffirms its 17.5 million-barrel-a-day ceiling and $29 marker price, buyers would conclude the price structure was safe and that only normal drawing on stocks was in order.

But any disarray among the 13 oil ministers indicating a possible threat to the price could result in destocking, the report continued. This could cut demand for OPEC crude and bring pressure for lower North Sea oil prices and a drop in OPEC tariffs.

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