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Thursday, June 04, 2020

OPEC+ to hold virtual meeting Monday as Trump pushes for cut

The guest list is crucial as Saudi Arabia has made clear it will only cut production if others, including the US, shoulder some of the burden. Saudi Arabia called for the meeting, saying it should aim for a “fair agreement.”

By: Bloomberg | Published: April 3, 2020 1:53:44 pm
An OPEC sign hangs outside the OPEC Secretariat ahead of the 172nd Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meeting in Vienna, Austria. Photographer: Akos Stiller/Bloomberg

The OPEC+ coalition is rushing to pull together a meeting of its members — and possibly other oil producing nations — after President Donald Trump called for a coordinated production cut to stem the historic rout in crude prices.

A virtual meeting will be held on Monday, according to two delegates. It will be open to all producers — not just those in the OPEC+ alliance — but it’s not yet clear which will attend. The U.S. so far has given no indication it’s prepared to join.

The guest list is crucial as Saudi Arabia has made clear it will only cut production if others, including the U.S., shoulder some of the burden. Saudi Arabia called for the meeting, saying it should aim for a “fair agreement.”

Trump shocked markets on Thursday by tweeting that he expected Russia and Saudi Arabia to cut about 10 million barrels — or roughly a 10th of global petroleum output. But according to a person familiar with the situation, the president also wants other producers to contribute.

There are enormous obstacles to any deal: Russia was quick to deny on Thursday that any agreement had been reached. Even if an accord can be struck, a cut of 10 million barrels would barely dent the glut of oil that has been created by the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. Traders estimate the lost demand could be as high as 35 million barrels.

Oil futures, which jumped more than 40% on Thursday after Trump’s announcement, edged lower on Friday.

Trump, who is meeting oil executives later, told reporters on Thursday that he expected a deal to be reached soon.

“It would be great for Russia, it would be great for Saudi Arabia — I hope they make that deal but that’s what they told me,” he said. “Can something happen where it doesn’t happen? I guess? In which case there’s another alternative, but I’d rather not see the other alternative.”

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