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20 February 2020
BUSINESS

OPEC confirms March 2020 meeting date amid coronavirus threat

Oil traders will now have to wait until early March 2020 to see whether the alliance goes ahead with any new measures

The proposal to cut deeper has not yet received backing from Russia/Bloomberg

by Bloomberg

The Organisation of Exporting Countries (OPEC) has sent out invitations for meetings between the alliance and its allies on 5 and 6 March 2020, signalling that plans for an emergency gathering have faded away.

The 23-nation coalition known as OPEC+ had already scheduled the conference for early March 2020 when it last assembled in December 2019. Saudi Arabia has been pushing for weeks for an earlier meeting of OPEC+ with Energy Minister Abdulaziz bin Salman this week equating the coronavirus’s impact on the market to a house on fire.

Russia—the most important ally in the broader alliance—has resisted the initiative, saying that more time is needed to assess the impact of the disease. The invitations distributed this week confirm that the gathering will take place on the originally scheduled dates.

It appeared earlier this month that the move for action was accelerating, as OPEC+ convened an urgent session of technical experts in Vienna, who recommended that the producers deepen current cutbacks by 600,000 barrels a day. The coalition is already implementing just over two million barrels a day of output curbs to shore up prices in the face of soaring US shale-oil supplies.

However, the proposal to cut deeper has not yet received backing from Russia, which is able to weather low oil prices more easily than Arabian Gulf producers.


RELATED STORIES: Abdulaziz bin Salman Organisation of Exporting Countries


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