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OPEC Plans Cut in Oil Production; Prices Move Higher


Oil prices headed slightly higher after OPEC 's president confirmed the cartel would approve cuts in production during an emergency meeting in Vienna.

Chakib Khelil told reporters Thursday a production cut was imminent, and that the only question at Friday's meeting would be how much.

The price of crude oil for future delivery rose more than $1 to settle at $67.81 a barrel after volatile trading Thursday in New York. Despite closing higher, oil prices dropped at one point to a new 16-month low of less than $66.

Investors have sent oil prices lower in recent days, worried a slowing global economy will dampen demand for oil.

Iran and other OPEC members have been demanding large cuts to stabilize prices that have fallen more than 50 percent since hitting a high of $147 a barrel in July.

Khelil has said the ideal price for a barrel of oil would be between $70 and $90 a barrel. But he also cautioned against taking action without considering the impact it could have on the global economic crisis.

The cartel produces about 40 percent of the world's oil, and economists say if oil prices continue to slide, some members will not be able to meet their financial obligations.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and the head of the International Energy Agency, Nobuo Tanaka, have warned against any moves that could make oil more expensive.

Some information for this report provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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