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Saudi Bank NCB Lowers Forecast for OPEC Leader’s Crude Output

Saudi Arabia’s crude oil output this year may average 400,000 barrels a day less than in 2012 as the kingdom curbs supply to help meet OPEC’s production target, according to a National Commercial Bank forecast.

The world’s largest crude exporter may pump 9.5 million barrels a day on average in 2013, Saudi Arabia’s biggest lender by assets said today in an e-mailed note. NCB reduced its estimate for Saudi production this year from its previous forecast, in November, of 10.1 million barrels.

The Jeddah-based bank expects Arab Light grade, which accounts for about half of Saudi Arabia’s total output, to sell this year at a minimum price of $80 a barrel and at an average of $105. Brent crude futures have averaged $113.76 a barrel this year and traded today at $110.86 at 3:17 p.m. in London.

The biggest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will need to sell its crude at an average minimum price of $72.80 this year to balance its annual budget, compared with $67 in 2012, NCB estimates. The bank forecasts the Saudi break-even price will rise to $75.20 in 2014.

The kingdom may generate revenue of $324 billion from oil exports this year, down from last year’s record of $347.6 billion, NCB said.

OPEC’s 12 members trimmed output by 21,000 barrels a day to 30.32 million in January, according to the group’s latest monthly market report published Feb. 13. The group, which supplies about 40 percent of the world’s oil, has an official production ceiling of 30 million barrels.

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