OPEC Crude Basket Ends Longest-Ever Stretch Above $100 a Barrel

The average price of benchmark OPEC crudes ended its longest run above $100 a barrel after dropping below that level for the first time since July amid signs the global economic recovery is faltering.

The so-called OPEC basket, a weighted average of the main grades produced by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, slipped to $98.56 a barrel yesterday, according to an e-mail today from the group’s Vienna-based secretariat. It’s the first time OPEC’s reference price slipped below $100 since July 16 and ends an unprecedented 191-day spell above that threshold.

Oil prices slumped this year as Europe struggled to move beyond its debt crisis, China showed signs of a slowdown, and unemployment levels remained elevated in the U.S. The decline brings prices in line with the target cited by Ali Al-Naimi, oil minister of Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest crude exporter, who has described $100 as “reasonable” for consumers and producers.

The OPEC Reference Basket of Crudes is composed of Saharan Blend from Algeria, Girassol from Angola, Oriente from Ecuador, Iran Heavy from the Islamic republic of Iran, Basra Light from Iraq, Kuwait Export from Kuwait, Es Sider from Libya, Bonny Light from Nigeria, Qatar Marine from Qatar, Arab Light from Saudi Arabia, Murban from the United Arab Emirates and Merey from Venezuela.

OPEC will next meet to view its collective production target on May 31 in Vienna.

To contact the reporter on this story: Grant Smith in London at gsmith52@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Voss on sev@bloomberg.net

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