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OPEC Opts to Delay Output Decision

November 29, 2008

CAIRO, Egypt --- OPEC has postponed a decision on whether to cut production again this year, Bloomberg reported. The organization will take any "additional action" needed to stabilize the market at a summit in Oran, Algeria, on Dec. 17, according to Chakib Khelil, OPEC's president.

In a statement after Satuday's meeting in Cairo, he said oil demand is expected to be "much lower" than estimated a month ago.

Crude oil prices have fallen 62 percent from July's record of $147.27 a barrel -- a result of the global recession's impact on demand for fuel. Prices continued to drop even after the 13-member Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries decided on Oct. 24 to reduce production quotas by 1.5 million barrels starting Nov. 1, Bloomberg reported.

Crude oil for January delivery traded at $54.43 a barrel in New York on Friday, Nov. 28.

OPEC will probably lower supplies before the end of the year, according to 18 of 21 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Twelve predicted the reduction will be at least 1 million barrels a day.

OPEC President Chakib Khelil, who is also the oil minister of Algeria, told reporters in Cairo: "Some countries are unable to sell their crude. Crude should be taken off the market. The market is oversupplied."

OPEC called a "consultative" meeting of ministers for Saturday, Nov. 29, rather than wait until its next scheduled December conference in Algeria because the slowing world economy has reduced global consumption faster than expected. 

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