US reaction to OPEC production hike guarded at best

US reaction to the decision by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to increase oil production has ranged from a guarded welcome to yet another call for wielding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as a market weapon and thus reduce gasoline prices.US Energy Sec. Bill Richardson says the OPEC decision to raise production by more than 700,000 b/d is "a positive, though modest, step that we hope will lead to more-stable oil markets and lower [fuel] prices at the pump."Richardson said Mexico's announcement that it also would increase production 75,000 b/d through the third quarter would help US consumers.But Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) said OPEC's action "is a disappointment...

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