Saudi Ministry of Finance launches first savings product intended for individuals

RIYADH: A meeting of the top ministers of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, known as OPEC+, has reportedly kept oil output policy unchanged.

The officials met online on Thursday to discuss market fundamentals.

The Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee can call for a full OPEC+ meeting or make recommendations on policy.

“The JMMC reviewed the crude oil production data for the months of November and December 2023 and noted the high conformity for participating OPEC and non-OPEC countries,” OPEC said in a statement issued after the meeting.

OPEC+, however, will soon have to decide whether to extend 2.2 million barrels per day of voluntary oil output cuts which expire at the end of March.

Saudi Arabia alone accounts for nearly half of those cuts at 1 million bpd.

If these cuts are unwound, OPEC+ would begin to return 2.2 million bpd to the market from the beginning of April. This would leave in place 3.66 million bpd of output cuts agreed earlier.

Riyadh has said that the cuts could continue beyond the first quarter if needed. Previous decisions to extend voluntary cuts have been made at least a month before their implementation.

Earlier this week, the Saudi government ordered Aramco to halt its oil capacity expansion plan and to target a maximum sustained production capacity of 12 million bpd, 1 million bpd below a target announced in 2020.

Brent crude prices have closed above $80 a barrel since Jan. 24, buoyed by geopolitical tensions in the Middle East.

The JMMC usually meets every two months and brings together leading countries within the alliance.

It will meet next on April 3, the statement added.

Following the development, oil prices edged slightly higher.

Brent crude futures were up 67 cents at $81.22 a barrel by 1114 GMT. US West Texas Intermediate crude futures gained 66 cents to $76.51.

Oil prices had been buoyed earlier in the day after signals from the US Federal Reserve on a possible start to interest rate cuts.

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