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Opec calm, but problems await as oil prices remain high

Tomorrow's meeting looks set to be quiet, but that doesn't mean all is well for the cartel

Just a couple of months ago, as Brent oil prices looked to be drifting towards $90 a barrel, seasoned Opec watchers were saying the group’s meeting in Vienna on 31 May would be a humdinger. Iraq’s rising production, soaring US output, weak global demand growth and internal friction between Opec’s price hawks and the Gulf producers would make for frosty talks around the group’s horseshoe table in the Helferstorferstrasse headquarters. But as oil prices have firmed back above $100/b, the mood has changed. There are unlikely to be any surprises, let alone fireworks, at the meeting tomorrow. Opec will defer the big questions until the next meeting. Why? By any historical measure, none of Opec’s

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