Members of the OPEC oil cartel have agreed to cut production in response to rapidly sliding prices. At a meeting in Cairo, they concluded that stocks are building up too fast which is why the cost of US light crude has fallen 21% since hitting an all-time high in October of over $55.
The decision will disappoint consumer nations which feel oil inventories have to rebuild to help economic growth and calm volatile prices. Qatar’s oil minister, Abdulla bin Hamad al Attiyah, told reporters the total reduction of one million barrels a day will be implemented from the beginning of January 2005. At the Cairo meeting OPEC failed to decide a long term strategy on issues like what average price it should aim for. OPEC President Purnomo Yusgiantoro said: “The price band study and the long term study are not finished and we will be doing that in Vienna at the end of January.” The Vienna meeting will consider production for the second quarter, when demand is reduced because of warmer weather in the north eastern United States. The OPEC decision did not have a major effect on oil prices US light crude is at around $42.50 a barrel .. and Brent is just under $40.