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A Saudi-Russia deal to cut?

Both countries want higher oil prices. But a troubled history and near-term market dynamics suggest the time is not yet ripe

Rumours of a deal between Russia and Saudi Arabia have given some recent strength to oil markets. From lows of around $27 a barrel in late January, Brent was trading above $35/b on 1 February.It’s a neat idea, one that sees Saudi Arabia’s marketing policy in the past eighteen months as tactical, not strategic. That is, the kingdom’s willingness to keep the taps open has been a way of bringing rival producers into line – forcing cuts upon them – as opposed to the broader, much-cited strategic goal of forcing them out of business so as to hoover up market share. Saudi Arabia has given the market a good sweating, to borrow Rockefeller’s term. Now it’s time to get around the table again and resc

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