Relevance up to 11:00 2021-01-06 UTC+3
OPEC members met on Monday, during which they discussed an increase in production, which the majority has protested against.
To date, the group is taking a cautious approach, arranging monthly meetings instead of the usual couple of times a year. Their priority is to monitor production levels, and at the same time avoid the contingencies they spent most of 2020 working on.
For this month, OPEC has decided to raise production by 500,000 bpd, but for February, some members questioned the need to increase the output.
For instance, Kuwait said it expects a gradual recovery in oil demand, especially in the second half of 2021, as many countries have begun distributing COVID-19 vaccines.
Saudi Arabia is also keen on extending the cut, but other countries, especially those who are looking for ways to save their economies, pushed for an increase.
Such would favor member states such as Iraq, which is in the grip of a growing economic crisis compounded by restrictions on oil sales.
However, the group needs to be very careful when making decisions, especially since many countries are still under lockdowns.
“We believe that OPEC would not raise output in February, given the current restrictions in Europe,” said Helima Croft, chief commodity strategist at RBC Capital Markets.
Although it is too early to say how this situation will impact the key sectors of the economy, it is certain that it would take a couple of years to return to pre-crisis levels.
Until now, oil reserves in developed countries are at 163 million barrels above five-year averages. And even if the IEA does not expect new surpluses, it warns that they will remain even if OPEC raises production.
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