The OPEC+ alliance decided to maintain production at current levels, pausing to take stock of a global oil market roiled by uncertainty over Chinese demand and Russian supply. The 23-nation group has only just implemented the hefty two million barrel-a-day reduction agreed upon at its last gathering in October. The full impact of that cut is unclear amid severe price gyrations. After hitting the lowest level since September, on November 28, Brent crude posted its biggest weekly gain in a month.
The volatility has been driven by European Union sanctions on crude exports from OPEC+ member Russia, which come into effect Monday. At the same time, China is tentatively easing the Covid measures that have eroded consumption in the world’s biggest oil importer. The agreement came after an online gathering of OPEC+ and its allies, which replaced the in-person gathering at its Vienna headquarters that had been planned until this week. Sunday’s virtual meeting took about 20 minutes.