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Wed 4 Mar 2020 09:11 AM

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Kuwaiti minister confident of oil price recovery despite coronavirus threat

OPEC meeting on Wednesday could see further cuts in oil production agreed

Kuwaiti minister confident of oil price recovery despite coronavirus threat

Dr Al-Fadhel is due to attend the 178th Extraordinary Ministerial Conference of OPEC and the eighth ministerial meeting of the OPEC Plus coalition on Thursday. Image: KUNA

Kuwait’s oil minister is optimistic that prices will rebound from the current slump caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

Global oil prices have fallen 20 percent since the start of the year as the virus spreads across the world – with Brent and WTI falling to the lowest since the 2008 financial crisis, last week.

In Asian trade on Tuesday Brent crude was up 2.5 percent at $53.17 per barrel and West Texas Intermediate was 2.7 percent higher at $48.01.

However, Kuwaiti Minister of Oil and Acting Minister of Electricity and Water, Dr Khaled Al-Fadhel, said he was positive that prices would recover.

In a statement to the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA), he said: We aspire to have a balance in oil prices in order to reach the required level that satisfies the exporting and consuming countries and that the price level is acceptable to all.”

Dr Al-Fadhel is due to attend the 178th Extraordinary Ministerial Conference of OPEC and the eighth ministerial meeting of the OPEC Plus coalition on Thursday.

He admitted the current coronavirus outbreak has “cast a shadow over oil prices”, but hoped that an agreement could be reached through the meetings to reduce production if there is an additional reduction.

Million barrels a day

OPEC's "joint technical committee" (JTC) met last month and recommended a cut of 600,000 barrels to ward off the effects of the coronavirus slowdown.

Last week the Financial Times reported that Saudi Arabia wanted to bring the cut up to a million barrels a day.

In December last year, oil ministers from OPEC and outside agreed to increase the volume of production cut by 500 thousand barrels in order to stabilise and balance global markets.

There are currently over 93,000 cases of coronavirus throughout the world and while almost 51,000 people have recovered, the virus has claimed the lives of over 3,000.

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