The 173rd Meeting of the OPEC Conference and the 3rd OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting
Vienna, Austria, 30th November, 2017
Like every OPEC Meeting, there was much conjecture beforehand but I felt there that there was only one option,
to hold where they were and roll on, supposedly, for at least another nine months. Ministers seemed keen not to fuel gossip and upset the markets before any official agreement had been made particularly as traders had already built the anticipated cut in to pricing.
The choice was clear – hold on and maintain prices at this level, falter and watch them crash, cut further, push them higher and open the Shale floodgates. Not actually that simple but an easy and quick explanation. However, in the short term that is the right easy solution and OPEC has often thought short term. Yet, following on from the original decision to bring in the cuts, the strategy has worked well particularly as only a couple of years ago OPEC was again being written off as having lost control of the market. But there was a plan that many couldn’t see. The issue now is that re-balancing in one sector requires something similar in another. With the price of oil holding around the $60 level, 14% up on where it was at the last meeting and 40% higher than it was two years ago, even higher prices could work against OPEC.