After an exciting year or so, are we about to see a more boring Opec meeting tomorrow night? The consensus is the oil body will maintain the net 4.2m reduction in production agreed last year.
Bloomberg’s poll of 26 analysts and Reuters’ poll of 10 analysts were both unanimous: Opec will keep quotas steady. Meanwhile, at least nine Opec member countries’ oil ministers, in various pre-Opec interviews in August, mostly said they either expected, or would be satisfied with, keeping the current quota (although Iran and Nigerian ministers mentioned concern about large global oil inventories, which dampen the cartel’s ability to influence prices).
Today’s comments by Ali Naimi, Saudi Arabia’s oil minister, that both consumers and producers were happy with the $68 – $73 range adds further weight to the consensus view: he is the most powerful person in the cartel.
Compliance is now thought to have fallen to below 70 per cent, according to surveys by Platts and Reuters, but compared to this year’s previous two meetings – in mid-March and late May – prices have mostly been well above $60 in the last few months:
Opec set to hold output steady (FT, 08/09/09)