Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Opec boosts output to keep oil prices in check

Opec said in a statement issued over the weekend that it was producing about 29.5m b/d, and said it would ensure that demand was fully met. The interpretation placed on the statement was that the oil cartel would keep quotas unchanged at 27m b/d at the group's meeting in Isfahan, Iran on March 16.

The rising oil price has been accompanied by increased interest among hedge funds in US crude futures. Speculative funds boosted their net long position, a bet on rising prices, in the West Texas Intermediate futures contract to 60,173 contracts, its highest level since June 2004, according to the latest data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

The CFTC said gross long interest rose almost 10,000 contracts to 130,797, its highest level since early October.

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