Oil Averages $18 In 1999

Thursday, December 30, 1999
Oil Averages $18 In 1999 Oil prices in 1999 posted a 35 percent increase on average over 1998, in a triumph of output restraints by exporter group OPEC and key ally Mexico. International benchmark Brent blend for the year was averaging $18 a barrel near the close of business on the last trading day of the year. Brent averaged just $13.34 a barrel in 1998, the lowest in 22 years, when prices slumped amid global surplus caused by excess output and shrinking demand in collapsing Asian economies. Average prices for Brent were $19.34 in 1997 and $20.28 in 1996. By cutting supply in 1999 by about four percent, OPEC boosted petroleum export revenues by some $25 billion, according to estimates released by London's Center for Global Energy Studies. Dealers are now waiting to hear whether OPEC will respond to dwindling oil stockpiles in the West by easing its supply curbs, scheduled to expire at the end of March. Some OPEC members have said the group might extend the curbs for several months, but the exporter organization has yet to reach a consensus on future policy.

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