OPEC+ panel keeps policy unchanged against backdrop of stronger oil market

By Maha El Dahan, Ahmad Ghaddar and Alex Lawler

DUBAI/LONDON (Reuters) -An OPEC+ ministerial panel which met on Friday made no changes to the group’s current oil output policy after a Saudi decision to extend its voluntary production cut into September helped oil prices rally further.

The panel, called the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee, can call for a full meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies led by Russia, known as OPEC+, if warranted.

Oil prices rose more than 14% in July compared with June, the biggest monthly percentage increase since January last year, as tighter supply and rising demand outweighed concern that interest rate hikes and stubborn inflation could hit economic growth.

“The committee will continue to closely assess market conditions,” an OPEC statement issued after the online meeting said, adding that the panel urged members to achieve full compliance with output cut pledges.

On Thursday, OPEC leader Saudi Arabia said it will extend a voluntary oil output cut of one million barrels per day (bpd) for another month to include September, adding it could be extended beyond that or deepened. Oil prices on Friday traded at nearly $86 a barrel, close to their highest since mid-April.

Russia will also cut oil exports by 300,000 bpd in September, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said shortly after the Saudi announcement.

OPEC member Algeria, which announced an additional voluntary cut of 20,000 bpd for August, is yet to decide whether to extend the cut into September, a source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

OPEC+ agreed on a broad deal to limit supply into 2024 at its last policy meeting in June, and Saudi Arabia pledged a voluntary production cut for July that it extended to include August.

The group’s output cuts, excluding the additional voluntary reductions from the three producers, amount to 3.66 million bpd, roughly 3.6% of global demand.

The JMMC will hold its next meeting on Oct. 4.

(Reporting by Ahmad Ghaddar and Alex Lawler in London, Maha El Dahan in Dubai and Olesya Astakhova in Moscow. Additional reporting by Lamine Chikli in AlgiersEditing by Kirsten Donovan)