OPEC ministers meeting in Vienna have decided to leave production levels unchanged. They said they took into account the fact that inventories in consumer nations have fallen along with the recent sell off in share markets, which could be an indicator that the global economy is slowing down.
Ministers expressed the opinion that the market is balanced and there no need to change production targets or output. The Nigerian Energy Minister Edmund Daukoru said with the global showdown now is not the time to relax, but he added: “Looking at the price levels and looking at the supply situation I don’t think there is a need for us to increase production again.”
OPEC said it is watching developments on the stock markets to assess their possible impact on the global economy and may call another meeting in June to review the situation. The International Energy Agency has predicted that world demand this year will be 86 million barrels per cent, a 1.8% increase on last year. OPEC’s output is estimated at 30.2 million barrels a day, down 3.8% on this time in 2006. At their previous two meetings, OPEC delegates have agreed a total reduction of 1.7 million barrels per day – around 6% of their output – but analysts calculate they have actually cut production by only about one million barrels.