DUBAI/DOHA (Reuters) - Gulf Arab OPEC oil producers do not see the need to change production levels to support crude prices, OPEC delegates said after benchmark Brent touched nine-month lows on Friday.
A sell-off in commodities saw Brent contracts fall from around $106 a barrel on Wednesday to lows near $101 on Friday. Brent recovered to $103.11 at close of trade last week and Gulf exporters are happy to leave production unchanged at current price levels, delegates from all the Gulf Arab OPEC producers said over the weekend.
Price hawk Iran did not call on the OPEC price doves across the Gulf to cut production, but its oil minister said on Sunday oil prices should stay above $100 a barrel. “An oil price below $100 is not reasonable for anyone,” Rostam Qasemi said ahead of the group’s next meeting on May 31.
Saudi Arabia’s oil minister said last month that around $100 a barrel was a “reasonable” price for consumers and producers alike.
Weak economic data from the United States on Friday followed forecasts for lower global oil demand growth for 2013 released last week by the International Energy Agency and the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
Brent prices recovered a little on Friday afternoon as oil traders started buying the global benchmark while selling U.S. crude oil on news of a large increase of Canadian oil flows into the United States.
Brent has traded mostly above $100 a barrel since early 2011, driven by unrest in Libya and a standoff over Iran’s nuclear programme, worrying investors that elevated energy costs will hurt the fragile global recovery.
Western sanctions have cut Tehran’s oil exports by more than half over the past year, making every extra dollar it can raise from those barrels it can sell vital for public coffers.