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Tue 7 Apr 2009 09:13 AM

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Kuwaiti oil official sees unpredictable market in 2009

Supreme Petroleum Council member rules out a return to $100 plus a barrel prices.

The outlook for the global oil market remains unpredictable despite a recent surge that has seen prices return above $50 a barrel, a leading Kuwaiti oil official has said.

Moussa Ma'rafi, a member of Kuwait's Supreme Petroleum Council (SPC), said the recent upturn was attributable to the strict adherance of oil producers to the last OPEC outcut cuts.

But he added in a statement to KUNA: "Yet, the outlook of the global market for the rest of 2009 is still unpredictable."

Although the mainstream oil exporting countries have been pressing for a price around $75, Qatari Minister of Oil Abdullah Al-Atiyyah said last week a price ranging between $40-50 was fair enough amid the current global economic slowdown.

According to latest statistics from OPEC, the prices have adopted an upward trend since March 6, rising from $43 to the current level of above $50.

"The strategic oil reserves of the major consumers is still relatively high and the outlook of world market for the second half of 2009 shows that demand will go down by 2.5 million bpd, compared with the corresponding period of last year," Ma'rafi predicted.

"These facts indicate no change in the fundamentals of the market and are unlikely to give rise to an abrupt rise in prices," he added.

He further predicted that the oil prices would adopt a tendency of gradual rise in the coming months and ruled out the possibility of hitting the level of $100 in 2009.

Instead, he expected the oil price to reach $65 a barrel by the end of the year.

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