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MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: The price of oil is hovering just above $52 a barrel in Europe this morning after falling below that level in New York trading last night. Crude has now dropped by 15 percent since the beginning of the year. But enjoy the cheaper oil while it lasts, Stephen Beard reports from London.
STEPHEN BEARD: The warm winter in the U.S. and Europe has been driving down the price of oil.
Demand is much lower than usual. Stockpiles of crude are overflowing. There’s a mini-glut in the market.
OPEC says it is deeply concerned and there’s talk of yet another cut in production.
Of course OPEC members frequently cheat, failing to implement the cuts they’ve agreed. But all that is likely to change if oil falls much further says Julian Lee of the Centre for Global Energy Studies.
JULIAN LEE: We may need to see prices falling another $5 a barrel before OPEC really gets its act together and everybody is pulling in the same direction. But they will take action.
And, say the analysts, there is one stark statistic which will ensure that oil prices bounce back: Currently the world is living on borrowed time, consuming three barrels for every one extra barrel it is finding in the ground.
In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.