Iran says market oil balanced and prices likely to increase

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran’s OPEC governor Mohammad Ali Khatibi said on Sunday that the oil market was stable and the crude prices could reach $100 per barrel, the Oil Ministry’s website SHANA reported.

“It is unlikely that OPEC holds an emergency meeting ... There is a balance between supply and demand in the market ... It is possible that the price of crude reaches $100 per barrel,” Khatibi said, SHANA reported.

Oil hovered around its highest levels in more than two years on Friday, supported by cold weather across the globe, appetite for risk assets and signals from OPEC it would not arrest the rally.

“In the opinion of the experts there is no need for an emergency OPEC meet under stable oil market conditions,” Khatibi said.

Analysts said oil could continue its rally on strong global demand and falling inventories in 2011, which promises to be a strong year for risk assets as confidence about the global economic recovery picks up.

Khatibi said various issues could increase the price of oil.

“The outbreak of unprecedented cold in Europe, America and China, the weak dollar and increased demand for fuel due to the holiday season have raised the price of oil to more than $90,” Khatibi said.

Writing by Parisa Hafezi, Editing by Ron Askew