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Badri says OPEC has no target price, but oil slide beyond fundamentals

DUBAI, Dec 14 (Reuters) – The head of OPEC said on Sunday the group had no target price for oil, and urged Gulf states to continue investing in exploration and production, saying the United States would continue to rely on Middle East crude for many years.

But Abdullah al-Badri acknowledged that the oil price, which has dominated trade on global financial markets in recent days as it hit a succession of five-year lows, had fallen further than market fundamentals should have dictated.

The comments at an event in Dubai were Badri’s first since the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries left its output levels unchanged at a meeting last month.

“The fundamentals should not lead to this dramatic reduction (in price),” Badri said in Arabic in remarks made through an English interpreter.

OPEC sought a price level that was suitable and satisfactory both for consumers and producers, he said, without specifying a figure. Asked if there was a need for an emergency OPEC meeting before June, Badri smiled and said: “I don’t know.”

Oil’s relentless slide pounded energy stocks and currencies exposed to crude exports on Friday, doused appetite for riskier assets and pushed investors into the safety of government debt despite strong U.S. consumer sentiment.

Badri said November’s decision to leave output unchanged was not aimed at any other oil producer.

“Some people say this decision was directed at the United States and shale oil. All of this is incorrect. Some also say it was directed at Iran. And Russia. This also is incorrect,” he said.

Brent crude settled at below $62 a barrel on Friday after the world energy watchdog forecast even lower prices on weaker demand and larger supplies next year.

In related news, OPEC cuts 2015 demand forecast for its oil to lowest in a decade.

 

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