Looking ahead ///

OPEC’s newly appointed secretary general, Alvaro Silva, said he expects oil prices to rise as the global economy recovers during the second half of 2002. However, he declined comment on the cartel’s production decisions to be made at their upcoming meeting next month. At press time, oil prices were steady, due mainly to OPEC’s decision to maintain tough production restraints. Yet dealers said they were keeping a close eye on the organization’s adherence to output curbs after its decision to keep its production ceiling at 21.7 million bopd. This is the lowest level in 10 years. OPEC claims that supplies are sufficient for the modest demand growth it has forecast for the year. Some analysts said that OPEC’s decision was unlikely to have a major impact on prices, especially if it boosts output in fourth-quarter 2002, as many expect it to do.

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