Saudi oil minister says no need now to freeze crude output

By Sam Wilkin on 9/5/2016

HANGZHOU, China (Bloomberg) -- There is currently no need to limit oil output, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said on Monday, after signing an energy agreement with his Russian counterpart Alexander Novak.

“There is no need now to freeze production,” Al-Falih said in an interview with Al Arabiya television in Hangzhou, China. “It is among the preferred options, but it is not necessary today. The market is improving day by day.”

Crude prices gained more than 5% before Al-Falih and Novak made a joint statement, amid speculation that the two oil producers could reach an agreement to cap output. A similar proposal in April failed after Saudi Arabia insisted that Iran also participate. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Arabian Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met Sunday in Hangzhou and agreed to work together to ensure stability in the oil market.

Al-Falih described Saudi Arabia’s agreement with Russia as “important” and said the two producers would continue to cooperate. The countries discussed several options to stabilize oil markets including a joint freeze on output, he said.

Benchmark Brent crude was trading 3% higher at $48.23/bbl in London at 11:40 a.m. local time.

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