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Market awaits Opec decision

WITH oil markets trading at record-breaking prices, all eyes are on Opec tomorrow as the group meets in Vienna to decide whether to keep its production quotas unchanged – or cut output in support of prices. Market sentiment appeared to accept that the cartel would roll over existing quotas, despite calls from consumers to release more oil onto the market.

Ahead of the meeting, Chakib Khelil, Opec's president, said it had "no plans to raise production". Opec maintains that the rise in the price of oil is due to the dollar's weakness. Recent interest-rate cuts by the US' Federal Reserve has put pressure on the currency, forcing up the price of dollar-denominated oil. It has also mitigated the effect on prices of an easing of supply worries: on Monday, Shell said it had ended force majeure on crude exports from Nigeria, which it declared in January. On Tuesday, the contract for light sweet crude for April delivery was trading at $102.50/b in New York. That represented a slight softening of prices, which had earlier hit $103.95/b – by most mea

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