OPEC to Leave Oil Output Unchanged

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The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will leave oil output unchanged, a delegate at the group's current meeting told Reuters. Oil ministers apparently are not worried the weak dollar will drive up the price of crude far enough that it will crimp the global economic recovery.

There was consensus among members of OPEC to keep the current quotas intact. OPEC's president, Ecuador, and its top exporter, Saudi Arabia, said they were happy with the current situation, and with oil prices at $70 to $80 a barrel. While delegates voiced concerns about a possible double-dip recession, none agreed to discuss what price level for oil they think would start to dent the fragile economic recovery.

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Oil prices, which have remained around the $70 to $80 range for much of this year, rallied recently because of the weakening of the dollar. This month, crude prices reached a five-month high at more than $84 a barrel.

On Thursday, the dollar fell to a 15-year low against the yen and to its weakest level against the euro since January on speculation that the Federal Reserve will ease monetary policy. But oil prices are also affected by supply-and-demand forces, and record-high fuel inventories combined with sluggish demand have somewhat offset the dollar's weakness so far.
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