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ALGIERS, March 16 Oil markets are rising due to
speculation and the U.S. dollar's fall, not to a lack of
petroleum production, OPEC President Chakib Khelil said on
Sunday, the official Algerian news agency APS reported.
APS quoted Khelil, who is also Algerian Energy and Mines
minister, as saying: "Prices are not going up because of a lack
of output, but rather from the effect of speculation."
This increase in price "is linked not to a lack of
production but to the devaluation of the dollar which has given
speculators the opportunity to invest in oil."
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries
(OPEC) left its output steady at a meeting earlier this month
despite calls from consuming countries for more oil to halt the
record rally. The price hit a peak of $111 a barrel on
Crude futures have jumped about 15 percent this year in
part due to a steep decline in the U.S. dollar, which has
helped push up the nominal value of all commodities prices in
Khelil said investors were shifting into oil and gold
because "there is no longer the possibility of good
profitability in stock markets which have lost a lot of their
APS reported Khelil as saying OPEC had played no role in
oil's rise, adding that its move to keep levels unchanged had
been approved "taking into account the situation of the market,
which is well supplied with stocks of crude, which are more
than sufficient in relation to the average of the past five
"How can some people say that OPEC contributes to the
current price spike and at the same time issue forecasts saying
that world oil demand will reduce in the second quarter because
of the economic crisis?" he added.
(Reporting by William Maclean, editing by Maureen Bavdek)