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Tue 26 Jan 2010 11:42 PM

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Saudi says oil at $70-$80 won't hamper economy

Price is 'almost perfect' says Saudi oil minister, as economic growth is not hampered.

Oil prices between $70 to $80 a barrel are acceptable to all, the oil minister for top world exporter Saudi Arabia reiterated, adding this price does not hamper global economic growth.Saudi Arabia's oil minister Ali al Naimi was speaking in a video interview posted on the website of the International Energy Forum. The IEF issued a press release on Monday referring to the interview.

In an interview, al Naimi said: "The producer is looking at this price, the consumer is looking at the price, the investor is looking at the price and everybody is saying this is great."

He added: "More importantly, economic growth is not hampered, this is very important. So that's why I said it is almost a perfect price."

Saudi Arabia has previously said oil at $70 to $80 is reasonable and many of its fellow OPEC members have voiced support for that level, which analysts say effectively puts a floor of $70 under the oil market.

US crude oil futures were trading just above $74 on Tuesday, down around 1.5 percent on the day and on track for a 6.5 percent fall this month.

The Saudi minister said $70 to $80 was not a "band" or a formal target. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries set price bands in the past, but abandoned the policy.

Naimi said: "We're not talking about a band, we're talking about a de-facto situation.".

He added: "It just happens that this is a good range for everybody and I think there is an agreement." (Reuters)

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