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Mon 13 Apr 2009 04:41 PM

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'$40-$50 is more pragmatic for the economic crisis'

Too soon for OPEC to react to IEA forecast of oil demand plunge in 2009 - Qatar.

It is still too soon for OPEC to react to a sharp revision in the forecast for global oil demand from the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA), Qatar's Oil Minister said on Monday."It is too early to react, we'll have to wait and see," Abdullah Al Attiyah told Reuters on the sidelines of an energy conference.

US crude fell $1.57 a barrel to $50.671 on Monday after the IEA said on Friday that oil demand in 2009 would fall 1 million barrels per day (bpd) more than it previously forecast due to the global economic slowdown. The IEA expects demand to fall by 2.4 million bpd in 2009, the sharpest fall since the early 1980s.

Core Gulf OPEC members have said that $50 is a reasonable price level given the state of the economy, even though they would like more money for their oil. Attiyah reiterated that on Monday.

"I think what we are saying is that $40-$50 is more pragmatic for the economic crisis," Attiyah said. "We cannot do more than that."

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), supplier of about a third of the world's oil, next meets on May 28 to discuss oil supply policy.

Iran's OPEC governor was reported on Monday as saying the group may decide a further cut in output at the May meeting if demand continued to drop. (Reuters)

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