Saudi Arabia Hikes Oil Prices Ahead of OPEC Meeting


Saudi Arabia raised its oil prices in markets across the world on Monday, in some cases to all-time highs, as many customers remain reluctant to buy deeply discounted oil from heavily-sanctioned Russia.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is due to meet on Thursday to discuss production for May when analysts expect more price hikes could occur.

Barron’s found OPEC ministers cautiously watching the progress of peace talks between Russia and Ukraine, which began with an awkward handshake-free “cold welcome” in Istanbul on Tuesday, but also featured some talk from Russia about scaling back hostilities. 

According to Barron’s, guarded optimism about the peace talks was offset by the coronavirus lockdown China imposed on Shanghai this week and by the possibility that more oil could be released from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve to keep American pump prices from rising further. The coronavirus situation in China is complicating global shipping and depressing oil demand from China. on Monday argued the Russian invasion has “simultaneously both eased and complicated the task of Middle Eastern national oil companies” because pushing Russian oil off the market with sanctions gave the Saudis and other OPEC producers a golden opportunity to raise prices, but those price increases “could antagonize even further all the Asian buyers that keep on fretting about unprecedentedly high prices.”


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