The 12-nation OPEC oil cartel will likely maintain its 30mn-bpd oil production target on hold at its Vienna meeting on Friday, May 31, despite easing crude oil prices, amid a forecast weak global oil demand growth. OPEC has left its output target unchanged since January 2012. The crude oil prices currently hovers around USD 101 a barrel, remaining above the implicit benchmark price of USD 100 per barrel. The latter is seen suitable by oil producers led by Saudi Arabia, the world's single largest oil producer, and OPEC’s main powerhouse.
Iran, which has traditionally led the hawkish camp in OPEC calling for lower output, is facing an EU embargo on its oil exports. Saudi Arabia is also working with other OPEC members to reduce crude oil prices. Both rival countries and their OPEC allies will thus implicitly seek to keep the status-quo intact.
Weaker-than-expected consumption in Europe and Japan made OPEC cut its forecast for world oil demand growth in 2013 to 800,000 bpd from the previous 840,000, OPEC said in its April report. The bulk of the expected oil demand increase will originate from China with 400,000 bpd.
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