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Oil price down cycle 'nearing end', says Saudi oil minister

OPEC has invited Russia and key non-members to a meeting later this month as the cartel and Moscow seek to tighten cooperation to boost historically low crude prices. Photograph: (Getty)

Riyadh Province, Saudi Arabia Oct 24, 2016, 02.03 AM (IST)

Saudi Oil Minister Khalid al-Falih said on Monday that the present cycle of falling crude prices is close to an end amid improving market fundamentals.

Oil prices are currently around $50 per barrel after hitting the lowest in a decade in January, reaching $30 and down from a peak of more than $100 in mid-2014.

"The current down cycle is nearing an end," Falih told a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart Alexander Novak on Sunday after a Gulf ministerial meeting in Riyadh, news agency AFP reported.

"Market fundamentals, in terms of supply and demand, have begun to improve," Falih said, adding: "We are optimistic that oil prices will continue to improve in the future."

Qatar's energy minister, Mohammed al-Sada, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the OPEC oil exporting cartel, also assured that  the "difficult phase is over".

"Although the market is heading to being balanced, it needs our joint effort, and we all agreed that we need to take measures to bring back this balance," he said, AFP reported.

Novak said ways to "develop the best mechanism to solve the issue of stabilisation" were discussed in the meeting.

"We have reached an unprecedented level in our relations and cooperation" with Saudi Arabia, he told reporters, adding that he agreed with Falih "to continue to work and remain in continuous contact to achieve... Concrete mechanisms".

Meanwhile, OPEC has called a meeting with Russia and important non-members later this month as the cartel and Moscow look towards tightening cooperation to boost the historically low crude oil  prices.

The cartel and Russia will also meet on Tuesday, ahead of the OPEC technical meeting in Vienna on October 28 to 29.

Last month at a meeting in Algiers, the OPEC agreed to its first production cut in eight years.

President Nicolas Maduro of OPEC member Venezuela, a country deep in economic and political crisis aggravated by falling oil prices, was in Riyadh on Sunday for talks.

His visit comes a day after calling in Iran for increased cooperation between oil-rich countries in a bid to stabilise prices.


(WION with inputs from AFP)

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