NEW YORK, March 18 (UPI) — Crude oil prices were little changed Thursday morning after oil ministers in Vienna said current production quotas would remain intact.
The meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, the world’s largest oil cartel, ended with a statement that said “continued positive signs” in the global economy were threatened by “mounting and potentially unsustainable public debt in the most advanced economies.”
OPEC also said trade was threatened by “rising protectionism,” and further noted that the “marginal” rise in demand expected this year would be “more than offset” by increased production among non-OPEC countries.
On balance, “2010 is likely to witness a decline in the demand for OPEC crude oil for the third consecutive year,” the statement said.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, April delivery light sweet crude prices swung down from a recent peak of $82.93 per barrel to $82.29 per barrel, off 64 cents.
Heating oil prices lost 0.0186 cents to $2.1209 per gallon. Reformulated gasoline blendstock prices shed 0.0177 cents to $2.292 per gallon. Henry Hub natural gas futures lost 0.054 cents to $4.249 per million British thermal units.
At the pump, the national average price for unleaded gasoline rose to $2.789 per gallon from Wednesday’s $2.776, AAA said.
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