OPEC holds oil output as expected

EU

In line with previous expectations the oil-exporting cartel (OPEC) announced that it had decided to keep production quotas on hold, despite hopes of a daily 500,000-barrel hike.

Although a review is scheduled for the next OPEC meeting in February 2008, the prospect of a winter without a helping hand from the 13-member organization has put added pressure on oil prices. In response to the decision, Europe crude prices set on an upward trajectory, the resulting Brent $91.49 per barrel actually surpassing the $88.32 per barrel price in the US.

OPEC delegates told the press once again on Wednesday that the market was well supplied and needed no output increase. But with the price of oil so sensitive to any unforeseen developments, the cartel's refusal to throw traders a lifeline is predicted by sector insiders to push oil back up toward $100.

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