OPEC decides to keep production unchanged

Cartel agrees to maintain output at 30mn barrels a day

OPEC press conference.
OPEC press conference.

The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) on Friday decided to keep its oil output target on hold and predicted that oil prices would remain low in the short term.

The cartel agreed to maintain output at 30mn barrels a day and said it would leave it to member states to restrain overproduction.

"Production policy is a sovereign right," Saudi Arabia’s oil minister Ali Al Naimi said.

Saudi Arabia’s crude oil output reached record high levels in March surpassing its most recent peak in August 2013, according Reuters’s report.

Non-OPEC oil producers are also expected to ramp up production if prices recover but OPEC's secretary general said he expects crude to trade relatively low in the near future.

"The reality now is that we cannot have these $100 (prices) anymore," Abdullah al-Badri told reporters on the sideline of OPEC’s meeting in Vienna.

Crude was down $1.62 at $62.10 after OPEC’s announcement to keep production unchanged. Prices have almost halved since their 2014 highs of $115 a barrel against sluggish demand and oversupply on the market.

Production from OPEC countries in recent months has exceeded its target by more than 1mn barrels a day, the AP reported.

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