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QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — OPEC announced Saturday that it will not change oil output with prices just below $90 per barrel, comfortable inventories, and persisting global economic uncertainty.
The 12-member cartel's decision was based on its projection that demand for crude would grow more slowly in 2011 than it did this year.
In a statement, the ministers cited "the challenging risks to the fragile global economic recovery" including "fears of a second banking crisis in Europe" as the rationale for their decision.
The world's major industrialized nations continue to face "lower industrial output, lagging private consumption as well as persistently high unemployment," the statement said.
"The market is in balance and is stable," Oil minister Ali Naimi of Saudi Arabia, OPEC's biggest producer, said prior to the meeting. "The fundamentals are good."
Suffering from a cold, he left quickly without commenting to reporters after the closed-door meeting, which lasted less than two hours.
OPEC's next scheduled meeting is June 2 in Vienna, its home. Asked whether it could convene earlier if prices were to shoot up, the group's secretary-general, Abdulla Salem El-Badri, said that is always a possibility.
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