┬áThe Saudis are continuing to take the lead in efforts to cut OPEC’s production still further. Oil Minister al-Naimi told reporters that Saudi production is currently 8 million b/d and that February production will be lower than the Kingdom’s official target. Other sources say the Saudis will produce 7.7 million b/d next month. Iran and Venezuela reiterated this week that there could be further production cuts at the March OPEC meeting unless prices begin to rise. President Chavez said that OPEC would be willing to cut another production by another 2 to 4 million b/d if that it what it takes to force up prices.

In the meantime, the IEA has begun to express concern that all these production cuts will eventually force prices so high that the ailing global economy will be seriously damaged.