OPEC decided not to cut oil production to boost falling prices, sending benchmark crude plunging to a four-year low.
Brent crude, the international benchmark, fell more than $6, to $71.25 a barrel, after OPEC ministers meeting in Vienna left the group’s output ceiling unchanged despite huge global oversupply. The decision reflected OPEC’s lessening oil clout and marked a major shift away from its long-standing policy of defending prices.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, which accounts for a third of global oil output, has traditionally relied on production cuts to regulate supply and prices. But oil ministers appeared to realize Thursday that with cheap crude in oversupply, a reduction would only cut into OPEC’s share of the market without a lasting boost in prices and with others outside the cartel making up the difference.