Reuters: U.S. economic performance has less impact on oil prices than in the past because growth in demand has recently come mainly from countries like China and India, a senior Iranian oil official said on Sunday.
TEHRAN (Reuters) – U.S. economic performance has less impact on oil prices than in the past because growth in demand has recently come mainly from countries like China and India, a senior Iranian oil official said on Sunday.
Mohammad Ali Khatibi, speaking on the oil ministry’s news Web site SHANA, said U.S. calls for a increase in crude oil production made before last week’s OPEC meeting did not take into account “market realities.”
Washington said a hike would ease the pain high crude prices were inflicting on the U.S. economy and said it was disappointed after OPEC chose to hold output steady. OPEC has blamed speculation and other factors, not supply, for high oil prices.
“Based on the statements of American officials, an increase in OPEC output would help the U.S. economy … This is while even the International Energy Agency did not ask for an increase in OPEC output, in view of the market realities,” Khatibi said.
“This demonstrates the Americans are looking for a way out of their current bad economic condition,” said Khatibi, deputy director of international affairs at the National Iranian Oil Company.
After Wednesday’s meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, the IEA said record crude oil prices would have eased had OPEC raised output.
Khatibi said members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which groups industrialized nations, were not now the main drivers for growth in oil demand.
“In recent years the demand for oil has not been so much linked to demand of member countries of the OECD and has mostly stemmed from growth in demand from countries such as India and China,” Khatibi said.
“Consequently the U.S. economic growth will not have such a strong impact as in the 1980s on the price of oil and international oil demand,” he added.
He also said the weaker U.S. dollar had undermined the purchasing power of revenues from dollar-priced oil sales.
“We shouldn’t be happy about a weak dollar and high oil prices. The real value of crude oil should be assessed with a view to its real purchasing power,” he said.
(Reporting by Hashem Kalantari, writing by Edmund Blair; Editing by David Cowell)