Pressure on OPEC to raise oil prices eases


Pressure on the OPEC oil cartel to raise supplies eased today when crude prices fell after Iraq agreed to readmit UN arms inspectors.

Ahead of a meeting in Japan on Thursday, OPEC was reluctant to meet consumer country demands for extra oil to prevent the threat of a price spike that could ruin global economic recovery.

Today's fall of 64 cents to $27.89 a barrel keeps an OPEC basket of crudes well inside the group's preferred $22-$28 a barrel range.

Many in OPEC argue that world markets are adequately supplied with crude and blame a recent price spike on war fears.

OPEC already is leaking an extra two million barrels daily into world markets above those official limits but some analysts think that without more oil prices may quickly bounce back above $30 a barrel.