Ma­jor oil pro­duc­ers to talk out­put freeze in Qatar in April

The Pak Banker - - MARKETS/SPORTS -

OPEC mem­ber states and other ma­jor oil pro­duc­ers are plan­ning to meet next month to dis­cuss a freeze in oil out­put lev­els, Qatar's top en­ergy of­fi­cial said Wed­nes­day.

The planned gath­er­ing, which builds on ear­lier talks that in­cluded ma­jor sup­pli­ers Rus­sia and Saudi Ara­bia, re­flects a grow­ing sense of ur­gency among pro­duc­ers to try to shore up crude prices fol­low­ing a steep drop that is strain­ing their do­mes­tic bud­gets.

Qatar hosts the ro­tat­ing pres­i­dency of OPEC and will host the up­com­ing talks, which are sched­uled to take place the cap­i­tal Doha on April 17. Some 15 oil-pro­duc­ing na­tions rep­re­sent­ing about 73 per- cent of world oil out­put have agreed to take part, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment from Mo­hammed bin Saleh al-Sada, Qatar's en­ergy and in­dus­try min­is­ter.

"The con­tin­u­ous ef­forts of the Qatari govern­ment have been in­stru­men­tal in pro­mot­ing di­a­logue among all oil pro­duc­ers to sup­port the Doha ini­tia­tive, help­ing the sta­bi­liza­tion of oil mar­ket to the in­ter­est of all," al-Sada said in the state­ment.

En­ergy min­is­ters from Rus­sia and OPEC mem­bers Saudi Ara­bia, Qatar and Venezuela pledged to cap their out­put lev­els if oth­ers do the same in an ef­fort to bol­ster oil prices dur­ing a meet­ing in Doha last month. Other ma­jor pro­duc­ers in­clud­ing OPEC mem­bers Kuwait and the United Arab Emi­rates have since ex­pressed sup­port the ini­tia­tive.

The coun­tries are seek­ing co­or­di­nated ac­tion as they are re­luc­tant to give up mar­ket share to other pro­duc­ers.

Oil prices plunged to below $30 a bar­rel - their low­est point in more than a decade - ear­lier this year, ex­tend­ing a slide from over $100 a bar­rel that be­gan in 2014. Prices have edged higher in re­cent weeks, with U.S. bench­mark crude trad­ing above $36 a bar­rel in elec­tronic trad­ing early Wed­nes­day.

The slump is caus­ing grow­ing alarm in coun­tries heav­ily de­pen­dent on oil ex­ports, lead­ing them to slash pub­lic sec­tor jobs and search for new sources of rev­enue. Kuwait, for ex­am­ple, this week pro­posed im­ple­ment­ing a new cor­po­rate tax and the pri­va­ti­za­tion of some pub­licly run ser­vices.

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