Big Words From Saudis, OPEC Make Little Difference to Oil Prices

  • Prices little changed despite comments from Saudi Arabia, OPEC
  • Saudi ‘unprecedented’ cuts; OPEC talks ‘extraordinary’ move

Why OPEC Says 'Extraordinary Steps' Are Needed

Saudi Arabia and OPEC both made comments in the past 24 hours that look ostensibly supportive of oil prices. The reaction for crude futures has been muted -- at least initially.

Brent, the global benchmark, erased earlier declines to trade marginally higher at $55.67 a barrel, close to parity with Friday’s close. WTI, the U.S. crude marker, did a little better, gaining about 35 cents from its Friday close, having earlier been about 16 cents down.

To recap: Mohammad Barkindo, secretary-general of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, said in an interview in India on Sunday that “extraordinary measures” may be required to prop up the oil market. Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, then took just such a step, saying it will limit November allocations of crude by an “unprecedented” amount.

There’s still time for a turnaround, but crude traders’ initial response suggests they don’t think Saudi Arabia and OPEC can immediately turn the market around.

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