October 19, 2016 / 2:41 PM / a year ago

Venezuela's Maduro to visit oil producers, China

CARACAS, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro will visit OPEC and non-OPEC countries in coming days to push a deal to stabilize oil markets and will also travel to key financier China, as the cash-strapped nation seeks to ease a steep recession.

OPEC agreed in Algiers on Sept. 28 to reduce production to a range of 32.5 million to 33.0 million barrels per day, which would be its first output cut since 2008. Another meeting on Nov. 30 is set to firm up details of the accord.

“I‘m going to make a lightning visit, lightning but also deep, to several oil-producing countries, OPEC and non-OPEC, to bring a proposal and finally close an agreement between OPEC and non-OPEC countries to stabilize the oil market and allow prices to bounce back in a stable way,” Maduro said late on Tuesday night during his scheduled weekly televised broadcast.

Maduro did not name the oil-producing countries he planned to visit.

Price hawk Venezuela has been upbeat about the chances of non-OPEC countries, including Russia, joining in on freezing supplies alongside the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

“(Russian) President (Vladmir) Putin has been very clear: He agrees with the strategy of freezing oil production at this year’s average and even, if necessary, making cuts,” added Maduro, a socialist who was elected to replace the late Hugo Chavez three years ago.

Venezuela, which has the world’s largest oil reserves, has seen its crude output tumble this year amid a cash crunch. Spiraling inflation has also dented its workers’ living standards.

Maduro said he would also visit crucial ally China, which has lent some $50 billion to Venezuela in an oil-for-loans arrangement over the last decade.

Financial markets are watching to see if Beijing will help Maduro’s unpopular government as it struggles with reduced oil revenue and protests over widespread shortages of medicine and food. (Reporting by Alexandra Ulmer; Editing by W Simon)

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