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Tue 28 Oct 2008 12:33 PM

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Need for balance in oil markets – Saudi

Cabinet says balance and stability needed in oil markets to guarantee continuous investment in sector.

Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, said there was a need to achieve balance and stability on the oil markets to guarantee continuous investment in the sector, the state news agency SPA reported.

Saudi Arabia "emphasised the need to achieve balance in the oil market" and is keen on "the stability of the oil market, avoiding sharp fluctuations", the cabinet said in a statement after a weekly meeting chaired by King Abdullah.

The kingdom is continuously "committed to cooperation with all OPEC and non-OPEC producers and to boosting dialogue with consumers", it added, noting that balanced markets were in the interests of both consumers and producers.

It was the first comment made by the Saudi cabinet after the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) decided on Friday to cut 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) of output.

The cut failed to prop up prices which have dropped by nearly 60 percent from a record high $147.27 a barrel in July as global economic turmoil dents world fuel consumption.

Demand has fallen in the United States, the world's top energy consumer, and in other industrial countries as the credit crisis infects the wider economy and begins to spread to emerging markets.

In China, a key market for Saudi oil, apparent oil demand rose by just over 2 percent in September, the slowest growth in 10 months. (Reuters)

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