Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali Naimi gave the clearest explanation yet for the kingdom’s latest decision to hold production steady in an interview published by the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA). His remarks left no doubt as to the kingdom’s intention to let market forces do their work without intervention from the OPEC giant. The choice of SPA also indicates that the stance adopted by the minister is official government policy designed to protect its market share.

Mr Naimi says in the interview posted on the SPA’s website on 18 December that he believes the recent slump in oil prices, which have lost 40% of their value since June, is a temporary phenomenon brought about by a confluence of factors, including the rise in non-OPEC production, particularly from higher cost unconventional resources, a global economic slowdown and lower than expected demand for oil. (CONTINUED - 1843 WORDS)