16:54 GMT +316 December 2019
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    This May. 3, 2009 file photo shows an oil facility in Jubeil, about 600 km from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

    Saudi Foreign Minister Denies Oil Prices Tampering

    © AP Photo / Hassan Ammar, File
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    Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir denied allegations that Riyadh intentionally drives down global oil prices by refusing to cut production.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The price of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' (OPEC) reference basket of crudes dropped by nearly 5 percent to $23.58 per barrel on Monday, reaching levels not seen since April 28, 2003.

    "I want to clarify that the oil prices are determined by the supply and demand in the oil market," Jubeir said in an interview with the CNN broadcaster late Tuesday.

    The market oversupply from "overproduction in a number of countries" led to the dramatic price drops seen in 2015 and continuing so far this year, he added.

    "You cannot manipulate the market and be able to do so consistently. And so if you let market forces play out, then the equilibrium is set naturally. But if you try to manipulate it one way or another, eventually you overshoot or undershoot and you pay a tremendous price for it," Jubeir stressed.

    Brent crude prices plunged from $115 per barrel to $48.5 per barrel between June 2014 and January 2015, hitting the lowest levels in more than a decade in recent weeks. Despite the decline in global prices, OPEC resolved to continue production at the 30 million bpd level.

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    oil prices, crude oil, OPEC, Saudi Arabia
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