8 June 2011
Opec, the oil exporting countries group, is holding a meeting of energy ministers in Vienna, where they are discussing whether to increase output. Opec's biggest producer, Saudi Arabia, does want an increase, but others, notably Iran and Venezuela, are opposed.
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Oil is expensive again. The price is more than three times the lows it hit in the wake of the financial crisis, driven higher by robust growth in emerging economies and by the political unrest in the Middle East and North Africa.
It is increasingly an economic problem for oil importers, especially in the developed countries, where recovery is not very convincing. The oil price is adding to inflationary pressures and it's hitting consumers who have less to spend on other goods and services.
Saudi Arabia, along with Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates are willing to respond by boosting supplies which should bring prices down. But others aren't so keen, including Iran and Venezuela who don't have a great deal of spare capacity and have poor diplomatic relations with the rich world.
Saudi Arabia, however, does have room to increase production and might well choose to do so whatever Opec decides.
Andrew Walker, BBC News
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- in the wake of
after, or following
- robust growth
big, fast enlargement in size
- emerging economies
fast growing economies of certain Asian and Latin American countries which are starting to compete with successful, rich countries
- political unrest
turmoil or agitation which threatens the stability of a government
here, the improvement of developed countries' economies, back to how they were before the recent financial crisis
- inflationary pressures
forces which push prices up, usually due to an increase in the volume of money and credit available in the market
making larger in number
very interested and committed
- spare capacity
here, the resources to produce more oil
- diplomatic relations
work between countries to maintain peaceful ties