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OPEC maintains oil output quota
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The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agreed here on Thursday to maintain its production quota for the time being.

"Since the market remains oversupplied and given the downside risks associated with extremely fragile recovery, (OPEC) once again agreed to leave current production levels unchanged for the time being," OPEC said in a statement after a general meeting among its 12 members.

The cartel's current oil production quotas total 24.85 million barrels a day for its 11 members excluding Iraq.

It was the third time for OPEC to keep the oil production level unchanged this year, OPEC Secretary General Abdalla Salem El-Badri said. He added that this was in the best interest of the consumer, the producer, the market and the global economy.

The OPEC Conference President for 2009, Angolan Minister of Petroleum Jose Maria Botelho de Vasconcelos, also commented on the decision by saying that the world economy was slowly recovering, and that the current oil prices were "on a good level."

Crude oil futures have recently been hovering around US$70 a barrel. Over the past 14 months, international oil prices have experienced an unprecedented range of fluctuation. In early July 2008, they reached a record price of 140 U.S. dollars a barrel.

Afterwards, international oil prices dropped dramatically to US$33 a barrel at the end of last year. This year, prices started to increase again, and more than doubled in only six months compared with the beginning of this year.

In response to the price plunge last year, OPEC decided to cut its output three times from September to the end of last year, ordering a production ceiling of 24.84 million barrels per day.

However, international oil analysts believe that some OPEC countries do not strictly abide by the limit. In July 2009, OPEC's production of crude oil reached 26.29 million barrels a day.

(Xinhua News Agency September 10, 2009)

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