OPEC president says U.S. to blame for oil price

VIENNA Wed Mar 5, 2008 10:44am EST

Algerian oil minister and OPEC president Chakib Khelil (L) talks with OPEC Secretary-General Abdullah El-Badri at the beginning of a meeting in OPEC's headquarters in Vienna March 5, 2008. OPEC ministers were poised on Wednesday to hold output steady, resisting pressure from top consumer the United States to pump more oil to help prop up a fragile economy. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader

Algerian oil minister and OPEC president Chakib Khelil (L) talks with OPEC Secretary-General Abdullah El-Badri at the beginning of a meeting in OPEC's headquarters in Vienna March 5, 2008. OPEC ministers were poised on Wednesday to hold output steady, resisting pressure from top consumer the United States to pump more oil to help prop up a fragile economy.

Credit: Reuters/Heinz-Peter Bader

VIENNA (Reuters) - High oil prices are the result of U.S. economic mismanagement, which will also lead to lower demand for fuel, OPEC President Chakib Khelil said on Wednesday.

The U.S. slowdown has lowered the value of the dollar and encouraged speculative flows into oil and other commodities, he said.

"What's happening in the oil market is due to the mismanagement of the U.S. economy, which is probably affecting the rest of the world," Khelil told a news conference following Wednesday's OPEC meeting.

"We expect lower demand in the second quarter and probably lower demand for the rest of the year because of the recession in the United States," Khelil said further.

OPEC agreed on Wednesday to leave output unchanged, resisting U.S. demands for more oil to try to lower oil prices that have exceeded $100 a barrel.

"I'm not responding to the U.S. president," Khelil said.

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