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Sun 17 Feb 2008 11:13 AM

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Iran hints at Opec supply cut

Gulf state's oil minister advocates reduction of oil output saying size of cut to depend on market conditions.

Iran's oil minister on Sunday advocated a reduction of output at Opec's next meeting in early March, but added the size of any cut would depend on market conditions and global crude reserves.

Asked if there should be a cut in Opec's production when it meets on March 5, Oil Minister Gholamhossein Nozari told reporters:

"The normal course of events is that we should have a cut in production in March but we will have to review market conditions and world reserves before deciding by how much production should be cut."

Nozari earlier this month also said Iran wanted Opec to discuss reducing production at its next meeting.

On Friday, Opec said in its monthly oil market report the group's current crude output should be enough to meet growing demand and boost global stocks, a possible sign that it could decide to keep supplies steady at its March meeting.

US crude prices climbed to a one-month high above $96 earlier on Friday, drawing closer to the lifetime peak of $100.09 reached on January 3.

Opec ministers have repeatedly said the market is well-supplied, attributing oil's rally to an influx of speculative fund money and political tensions in the Middle East.

Opec at its February 1 meeting decided to keep its output steady despite calls from consuming nations to boost supplies and ease prices. (Reuters)

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