Editorial: The oil market's muddle

A month in effect, an elaborately coordinated curtailment of oil production remains-what else?-a muddle.But it worked. Two months ago, there were fearful warnings of $10/bbl crude oil about now. Last week, the New York Mercantile Exchange futures contract for light sweet crude traded at $19-20/bbl.Did this result mainly from promised production cuts or from the simple existence of the promise? Important to the answer will be January production reports due soon for the relevant exporters.Unusual stepLast November, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries took an unusual step. Having reduced output quotas three times during 2001 without arresting a steep price slide, the group made...

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