As ministers of the Opec oil cartel arrive in Vienna today, they are being greeted by dozens of wire service reporters lying in wait behind laptops propped on hotel lobby coffee tables. Analysts and oil company executives watch from the sidelines as the Dictaphone-wielding journalists dash to the entrance every time a minister steps out of his limo. The scene of Austria’s Cobra secret service personnel, Opec ministers and the herd of journalists precariously negotiating the hotel’s revolving entry doors may appear almost comical.
But there is good reason for this mayhem: Almost anything a minister says could be worth millions of dollars. Comments land on the computer screens of commodities traders from New York to Singapore within moments of being dispatched by reporters working for Dow Jones, Reuters or Bloomberg. Seconds can mean the difference between a trader profiting handsomely from an information advantage and being part of the herd.
This time traders are even more desperate than usual for news of whether Opec will decide to cut its production further. This has been reflected in 5-10 per cent fluctuations in oil prices over the past few days as Opec ministers and ‘unnamed sources’ have been dropping their hints.
Here are the quotes wires are dispatching today:
Reuters quotes Ali Naimi, Saudi Arabia‘s powerful oil minister, saying: “Compliance is very good … We’d like to see compliance as high as possible, it is over 80 percent now, it can be better.”