OPEC snubs US fears of ''perceived'' slowdown
The OPEC oil-producing cartel brushed aside Wednesday US fears that its latest steep production cut, aimed at maintaining high oil prices, could compound a "perceived" economic slowdown.
At a meeting to rubber stamp a 1.5 million barrels a day cut, Algerian OPEC President Chakib Khelil pledged to help sustain global economic growth, and heed the concerns of consumers.
"Our deliberations .. also embrace broader economic elements, particularly the perceived slowdown in the United States economy and the impact that this may have on the world at large, and consequently on global energy demand," he told fellow OPEC ministers.
US Energy Secretary toured OPEC countries on the eve of its latest meeting, lobbying for any cut in production to be as small as possible. But his concerns apparently fell on deaf ears.
The United States is the world's biggest importer of crude oil. Asked about the US concerns, outgoing OPEC Secretary General Rilwanu Lukman said: "They are not real, because the incidence of oil prices on inflation is very small.
"If they want to talk down their economy that is their business. That's what they are doing now, they are talking about recession and slowdown," he told AFP.
Indonesian Oil Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro echoed the sentiment. "The US economy is not affected much by a cut in oil production because the US economy has already been predicted to be slumping this year, not because of oil production but because of reasons of the economy itself," he said.
Algeria's Khelil said OPEC members realised there was a need to sustain global economic growth. "OPEC is committed to satisfying consumer needs and to achieving order and stability in the international oil market ... We are also aware of the need to help sustain growth in the world economy, without fuelling inflation in consuming countries," he said.
Saudi kingpin oil minister Ali al-Nuaimi, whose country is seen as an ally of the United States within the 11-member cartel, declined to comment when repeatedly asked about the US concerns.—AFP.
©--Agence France Presse.
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)