Al-Assaf: $100/b oil good for consumers, producers

PRAGUE – An oil price of $100 per barrel would provide the right balance for both consumers and producers, Saudi Arabian Finance Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf said in an interview for the public Czech Television aired Thursday.
“The target of $100 is good both for producers, consumers and the oil industry. I think this is a price that is good for everyone. So this is our target,” Al-Assaf said.
Saudi Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi in January identified $100 a barrel as a favorable oil price for an average of crudes worldwide but since then prices have risen sharply.
Al-Assaf said there was no fundamental imbalance of supply and demand on the oil market and prices had been driven up by speculators and tensions in international relations.
He added Saudi Arabia would not buy European sovereign debt directly, but is helping via providing funds to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
“We prefer, like many other countries, to do it through the IMF. That is lending to the IMF in order for the IMF to lend to the countries, because then it will be through a program between the IMF and the specific countries,” he said.
Oil prices retreated Friday as a raft of bad news for Spain’s indebted economy raised concerns about weak demand for energy, traders said.
New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate crude for delivery in June fell 40 cents to $104.15 a barrel.
Brent North Sea crude for June shed 43 cents to $119.49 a barrel approaching midday in London.
“The eurozone trouble is causing a lot of worry about demand,” said Newedge broker analyst Ken Hasegawa.
S&P Thursday cut Spain’s rating by two notches to BBB-plus and added a negative outlook, saying it expected the economy to shrink this year and next. – Reuters

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