QUITO, Ecuador – OPEC ministers decided Saturday to keep oil output at current levels, citing ample inventories amid persisting global economic uncertainty and a price of just under $90 a barrel.
The 12-member cartel said after an unusually short meeting that it based its decision on projections showing demand for crude would grow more slowly in 2011 than this year.
Its statement also cited the “challenging risks to the fragile global economic recovery” including “fears of a second banking crisis in Europe.”
The world’s major industrialized nations continue to face “lower industrial output, lagging private consumption as well as persistently high unemployment,” the ministers added.
“The market is in balance and is stable,” oil minister Ali Naimi of Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s biggest producer, told reporters. “The fundamentals are good.”
OPEC, which is responsible for 35 percent of global oil production, has not changed its output quotas since late 2008.
OPEC’s next scheduled gathering is June 2 in Vienna, its home.