It’s official: OPEC has agreed to cut its output by over 1 million barrels a day. The decision sent oil prices up over 7% to $48.48 a barrel in morning trading on Wednesday. A production cut of this size could “push oil supplies below demand levels sooner than expected,” according to the Wall Street Journal.
Today’s meeting in Vienna was highly anticipated, as oil prices have fluctuated with every rumor and bit of news concerning a production cut over the past year or so. Just last Friday, prices fell as much as 3% on doubts if OPEC could even reach a deal, as well as Saudi Arabia’s announcement that it would not participate in talks with Russia and other non-OPEC countries amid disagreements on how to “share the burden” of production curtails.
But today’s decision to slash output by more than 1 million barrels reflects a reduction of roughly 1% of global output, a step forward in helping to lessen the oil glut the world faces.
However, only time will tell if OPEC members will actually stick to this newly agreed-upon production levels. Saudi Arabia is taking the biggest hit, contributing around 0.5 million barrels a day by cutting its output to 10.06 million barrels, says Reuters, while Iran is set to freeze its production close to its current levels of 3.797 barrels a day.
There’s also concern about oil-producing countries outside of OPEC, like Russia. While it’s not clear how much the nation will trim its output, Russia has, in the past, been open to cutting production in coordination with the cartel. The Journal notes that Russian oil production rose by 500,000 barrels a day in September and October, so “even if [Russia] agrees to freeze output, it would do so at record high levels.”
In other oil news, CNBC reported that U.S. crude inventories decreased by 884,000 barrels over the past week, in comparison with an increase of 636,000 barrels analysts had expected. Gasoline and distillate fuel oil stockpiles, which includes diesel and heating oil, also rose higher than expected. For more U.S. oil news, read: USGS Just Discovered the Biggest Shale Oil Field in America
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