OPEC decides to cut production

The ministers of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) reached a preliminary decision to cut production for the first time since the global financial crisis eight years ago. The cut will be 32.5-33 million barrels per day (mbpd) from just below current output levels of around 33.4 mbpd . Output levels for individual countries will be finalised at the OPEC meet to be held in Vienna in November 2016. OPEC agreed that Nigeria, Iran and Libya would be exempted from making big cuts as their economies are already stymied by conflicts or sanctions. In January 2016, crude prices plunged to below $30 per barrel for the first time in over a decade. The low prices hit many oil-producing countries hard, particularly poorer OPEC members like Venezuela and Nigeria. It has also taken a toll on non-OPEC states such as Russia and Brazil, and even Saudi Arabia. Besides oversupply, weaker demand from China has also had a big impact on oil prices. Recently, the International Energy Agency had stated that growth in oil demand has slowed significantly during the third quarter of 2016-17.