January 30, 2020 / 3:11 PM / 2 months ago

Saudi Arabia opens talks on possible Feb OPEC+ meeting after oil price slide

LONDON/MOSCOW/DUBAI, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia has opened a discussion about moving the upcoming OPEC+ policy meeting to early February from March, four OPEC+ sources said, after a swift slide in oil prices alarmed Riyadh.

Worries over the economic impact of China’s coronavirus has rattled global markets, helping send the price of crude down to around $58 a barrel from above $65 a barrel on Jan. 20.

No final decision over the new date of the meeting has been made, and not all OPEC members are on board yet, with Iran a possible contender to oppose the move, the OPEC+ sources said.

Russia was also not keen on advancing the meeting to early February, though it was not immediately clear whether Moscow had officially communicated its final position, the sources said.

One Russian oil source suggested that Moscow may want to reassure the market it is willing to advance the meeting to prevent oil prices from falling further.

OPEC officials and investors are trying to assess what economic damage the virus might inflict on demand for crude oil and its products. (Additional reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin in Moscow; Writing by Rania El Gamal; Editing by Jan Harvey)

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