Why Are Saudis Approving Cheaper Oil?

Short term, the kingdom fears economic disruption from price spikes. Long term, though, it seeks to manage the market with boosted capacity

Unbelievable as it may sound, Saudi Arabia is practically applauding the 22% plunge in global oil prices since July. On Sept. 19, Saudi Oil Minister Ali Naimi called a price of about $60 per barrel "reasonable." Analysts think the Saudis could even live with a price in the mid-$50's per barrel. "The Saudi price target is probably lower than the rest of OPEC; they are still happy at $50 per barrel," says David Kirsch, an analyst at PFC Energy in Washington.

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