OPEC Oil Freeze Talks Still Ongoing, Iraq Says: WSJ

By Sara SjolinMarketWatch Pulse

Iraq followed in Iran's footsteps on Thursday and avoided committing to freezing oil production, but said talks between members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries are still ongoing, The Wall Street Journal reported. Investors have been waiting to hear whether the two nations could agree to capping output at January levels after Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Venezuela earlier this week decided to freeze their oil output. However, the deal was contingent on whether Iran and Iraq would follow. Iran on Wednesday expressed support for a plan to freeze production, but stopped short of committing to it itself. Iraq's oil minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said on Thursday his country is supportive of any deal to boost oil prices, but didn't specify whether Iraq would curb its own output. "The deterioration of the oil prices has directly impacted the global economy and the historical responsibly of the producers requires great speed in finding positive solutions that will help prices return to the normal [levels]," Mahdi said in a statement, according to the Journal.

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