The basket oil price used by OPEC to help set its production policy fell to 22.26 dollars on Thursday, brushing the bottom of the 22-28 dollars target band set by the oil-producing cartel, it said.
The recent slump in prices has prompted increasing calls from OPEC member states to agree to a production cut at a ministerial meeting scheduled in Vienna on January 17.
The OPEC basket oil price, based on an average of seven grades of crude oil worldwide, has been within the target band for over two weeks, after falling below 28 dollars on December 6 for the first time for four months.
Under an informal price-band mechanism agreed in March, the organization agreed to increase or decrease output by 500,000 dollars a day if the price stays outside of the target band -- above or below -- for more than 20 days.
Crude prices have soared to 10-year highs of over 35 dollars a barrel this year, sparking four production increases by the 11-member Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
The price-band mechanism was triggered in October, but OPEC ministers also decided at least once not to trigger the mechanism although the conditions for its implementation had been fulfilled -- VIENNA (AFP)
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