Opec has indicated that it will meet this weekend to agree to increase productio ...

Opec has indicated that it will meet this weekend to agree to increase production quotas. It is expected that the cartel will agree to expand output by between 1mn and 1.5mn b/d in order to reduce pressure on oil prices and help alleviate supply shortfalls from Venezuela where a general strike has significantly reduced oil production. Prior to the strike Venezuela was the world’s fifth largest oil exporter, producing more than 3mn b/d. Crude oil prices have risen by around $6/b since the strike began in mid-November 2002. At the close of trading on 7 January 2003 two-month Brent crude futures prices closed at $28.37/b and the Opec basket price closed at $29.72/b.

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