Oil prices slipped lower in early trading Monday after a series of conflicting signals from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) about whether the body will increase output next month.
In London, benchmark Brent crude was trading 18 cents lower at 28.41 dollars a barrel.
Last Friday in New York, light sweet crude for June delivery closed 44 cents lower at 29.89 dollars.
Over the weekend, Kuwait's Oil Minister Sheikh Saud Nasser al-Sabah blamed recent high prices on the balance between supply and demand but said the current level is "fair".
"The current oil price is fair. I hope it will continue at this level," the oil minister was quoted as saying by the official KUNA agency.
In London last week, oil prices topped 28 dollars a barrel and in New York rose above 30 dollars for the first time since March, just before OPEC agreed to increase output to stabilize prices.
Prices were spurred last week by comment from Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Nuaimi, which appeared to rule out an output increase at the next OPEC meeting in June.
However, analysts later commented that he had not completely ruled out an increase.
In any case, they said, the provision for an automatic supply increase exists as the March OPEC meeting established an informal mechanism by which supply would automatically be adjusted if the average price sank below 22 dollars a barrel or rose above 28 dollars - LONDON (AFP)
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