OPEC rumors cause oil prices to rise

Oil prices climbed today on the prospect of a long freeze in OPEC output and more evidence of cuts by other producers to combat falling demand. International benchmark Brent crude oil jumped 35 cents to $21.68 per barrel, bringing the week's gain to 6%. OPEC Secretary-General Ali Rodriguez told Reuters he saw the cartel maintaining stringent output curbs for the rest of this year and that OPEC wanted

Oil prices climbed today on the prospect of a long freeze in OPEC output and more evidence of cuts by other producers to combat falling demand. International benchmark Brent crude oil jumped 35 cents to $21.68 per barrel, bringing the week's gain to 6%.

OPEC Secretary-General Ali Rodriguez told Reuters he saw the cartel maintaining stringent output curbs for the rest of this year and that OPEC wanted prices to increase by at least 10% from current levels.

Previously, OPEC had hoped to lift crude oil output in the second half of this year to meet a recovery in demand driven by economic growth.

Rodriguez said he expected OPEC to maintain its current production ceiling despite what Russia, a non-OPEC member, decides to do in the second quarter. Rodriguez is due to meet top Russian officials before OPEC's March 15 ministerial meeting.

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