Saudi Arabia Cut Crude Exports in January After OPEC Agreement

  • Kingdom exported 7.7 million barrels of oil a day in January
  • ‘Strong sign’ of Saudi Arabia’s commitment to cuts: analyst

Saudi Arabia, Russia Send Mixed Signals on OPEC Cuts

Saudi Arabia reduced crude exports in January as the world’s largest oil shipper led OPEC nations in their historic production cut to rebalance the market.

Shipments fell 3.8 percent to 7.7 million barrels a day, according to data published Monday on the Joint Organisations Data Initiative website. Its crude output declined to 9.75 million barrels a day, the lowest since February 2015, the data showed.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers including Russia agreed to reduce output by 1.8 million barrels a day in the first half of 2017 to rebalance the market. So far, OPEC has delivered nearly all the cutbacks it promised, mostly because Saudi Arabia has pulled back more than it agreed. Saudi Arabia pledged to cut production to 10.058 million barrels a day under the deal.

"This is a strong sign that Saudi Arabia is committed to rebalancing the market," said Mohamed Ramady, a London-based independent analyst. "Yet, this might not be enough to quicken the recovery process as crude in storage worldwide is still high. They might need to reduce shipments more or extend this beyond June." Ramady is a former professor of economics at King Fahd University for Petroleum and Minerals in Saudi Arabia.

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