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GCC vows oil price stability

KUWAIT CITY: Gulf oil ministers wound up a joint meeting yesterday by vowing to achieve price stability in the international markets, ahead of an Opec meeting.

"The oil market has witnessed many developments that obliged us as major producers to counter more challenges in the way of achieving stability of the oil price and markets," Kuwait's Oil Minister Shaikh Ahmad Abdullah Al Sabah said after the meeting in Kuwait.

GCC assistant secretary general Mohammad Al Mazroui said the alliance is co-ordinating its oil policies closely with the "aim to stabilise the international markets."

Al Mazroui said that the GCC, which together pump just under one fifth of the world crude supplies, are working to "consolidate a balanced policy... in a bid to stop sharp swings on oil prices."

The Opec ministers meet on Thursday in Vienna to assess member output levels against a backdrop of steady prices and a huge jump in Iraq's estimated reserves. Oil has traded at roughly between 70 and 80 dollars per barrel for the past year.

It had plummeted to $32 in December 2008 from a record high of $147 dollars in July of the same year, because of the global financial crisis.

Qatar's Oil Minister Abdullah bin Hamad Al Attiyah said "so far" he saw no change in Opec's output.

Another Gulf delegate also said there was unlikely to be a change in the production target at the Vienna meeting.

"Stocks are a little bit high, the market is balanced, the price is good," the delegate said.

"The current price is not harmful to the global economies," Al Attiyah said.

Earlier, the UAE Oil Minister Mohammed Al Hamli said there was still some oversupply in the market and he was unconcerned with oil prices above $80.

Opec has not officially changed production policy since December 2008 when it responded to a price crash and a recession with its deepest ever supply cut.

Though official policy is unchanged, members' compliance with output targets slid to as low as 50 per cent this year from 80pc in April 2009.



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