Iran Calls for Oil Market Stability as Prices Slide

A031430011.jpgTEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian oil minister called for market stability on Saturday, a day after crude prices dropped more than 10 percent, stressing that the “current critical problem” is related to demand.

Oil Minister Gholam Hossein Nozari was asked what action he believed the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) should take at an emergency meeting scheduled for Nov. 18 in Vienna and whether a cut in output would restore stability.

Oil prices touched 13-month lows on Friday in a global flight from risk amid concerns of a worldwide recession and further signs of slumping energy demand.

“Studies indicate that the current critical problem has to do with demand in the market,” Nozari told reporters on the sidelines of an oil conference in Tehran.

“We should be after market stability, meaning that the stability of the market is important both for the producer and the consumer,” Nozari said.

On Friday, US crude plunged $8.89 to settle at $77.70 a barrel, the lowest levels since Sept. 10, 2007, and down 17 percent from last Friday’s settlement. London Brent crude settled down $8.57 at $74.09 a barrel.

Slumping demand in the United States and other developed economies has sent oil prices off their peak above $147 a barrel in July, after surging consumption in emerging markets such as China sent commodities on a six-year rally.

The price fall has caused some OPEC members to call for a cut in production levels, and the cartel will discuss the impact of the global financial crisis on the oil market at their meeting next month in the Austrian capital.

“The principal problem now is the global economic situation and it seems fundamental thought should be put in that direction to find a solution,” Nozari said.

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