Oil prices rally, OPEC chief plays down recent slide

29 October 2014, Lagos – World oil prices rallied on Wednesday, while OPEC secretary-general Abdullah El-Badri said that market conditions did not justify sharp falls for crude futures and signalled that OPEC would maintain output through next year.

Addressing the Oil & Money Conference — a key annual event in the energy sector calendar —  El-Badri said that rising supplies did not justify the extent to which prices have dropped in recent months.

Prices rose solidly on Wednesday before the outcome of the US Federal Reserve’s latest monetary policy meeting and a weekly report on US energy inventory levels.

In afternoon London trading, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in December rallied $1.17 to stand at $87.20 a barrel.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for December jumped 80 cents to stand at $82.22 a barrel compared with Tuesday’s closing value.

“We don’t see that much of a change in the fundamentals,” El-Badri said on Wednesday.

“Demand is still growing, supply is also growing. The magnitude of the increase in the supply does not really reflect this 25 percent change in the market.”

Crude futures have slumped by about one quarter in value since the middle of June, with New York contracts hitting two-year lows, largely owing to a supply glut in the United States. Demand is meanwhile downbeat in Europe against a backdrop of weak growth in the eurozone.

While lower oil prices reduce revenues for producers, including the dozen member countries that make up the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, the cheaper costs benefit consumers and industries which use oil and gas products.

OPEC will decide on whether to alter its output levels at a meeting in Vienna on November 27.

El-Badri also said that OPEC output in 2015 “won’t be far away” from its level this year.

The organisation has an output ceiling of 30 million barrels per day, while it pumped out 30.47 million barrels daily in September according to data provided by the cartel.

A cut in output could be supportive to prices meanwhile.

He meanwhile acknowledged that higher prices would be welcomed by both producers and consumers, adding however that OPEC did not have a specific price target.

“At 95-100-105 (dollars a barrel) everybody is happy, the producers can make money, they can invest, consumers can survive, they can manage. But I must insist that this is not OPEC target,” he said of the organization that pumps out about one third of the world’s oil.


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