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RABAT, Oct 16, (RTRS): Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said on Thursday he saw signs of global oil demand improving despite the economic slowdown in China and that the market’s supply/demand balance would shortly move more into line.
Oil prices have almost halved in the past year because of excess supply, although analysts see signs that OPEC’s strategy of allowing prices to fall to put a squeeze on growth in high-cost production areas is having some impact.
Oil prices fell more than 1 percent on Thursday, down for the fourth day as the US government reported a larger-than-expected crude stockpile build.
Asked when he saw a recovery in the oil price, Naimi said: “The market decides on prices, and when demand and supply get close, prices will be steady. Only the market can decide on prices, no-one else.”
Naimi was speaking in the Moroccan capital Rabat, where he was attending a meeting to prepare the 14th Arab congress of Industrial Development and Mining Organization (AIDMO).
Venezuela said it will unveil this month a new strategy for rescuing ailing oil prices, and one lifted from OPEC’s history books — a price band that would build an automatic floor for prices at $70 a barrel.
Venezuelan Oil Minister Eulogio del Pino said on Tuesday that eight non-OPEC countries have been invited to an Oct 21 oil meeting in Vienna: Azerbaijan, Brazil, Colombia, Kazakhstan, Norway, Mexico, Oman and Russia.
The Saudi minister declined to comment on Venzuala’s proposal but said: “The (Venezuela’s) proposal is the same meeting as the one in last June. It is a repeat of the same technical meeting to review the markets, including prices.”
Talk of a fair price resurfaced this year. Oil ministers from Iraq, Venezuela and Angola said in June that $75 or $80 could be fine. Saudi Arabia has not said what it sees as fair.