(Bloomberg) -- OPEC+ decided not to increase production next month, sending prices soaring in a market that had been expecting additional supply.
The cartel had been debating whether to restore as much as 1.5 million barrels a day of production, but after being urged to “keep our powder dry” by Saudi Arabia delegates said they decided to hold output steady at current levels. Brent crude rose 5% in London.
The decision is a victory for the Gulf kingdom, which has consistently pushed for tighter production restraints. It leaves the world facing a significant supply squeeze and higher energy costs just as widespread vaccination allows economies to start emerging from the downturn caused by the pandemic.
Crude has already rallied more than 25% this year to about $67 a barrel in London as OPEC+ kept production below demand in order to drain the glut that built up during the worst of the Covid-19 lockdowns. Without additional supply, that deficit will widen significantly in April, according to the cartel’s internal estimates.
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