Opec’s now 15 members raised output in July, but by substantially less than flagged up in the wake of their late June Vienna meeting.
Crude output from the 15 Opec countries increased by 60,000 b/d in July to 32.60mn b/d, according to MEES estimates. But key producer Saudi Arabia, having initially flagged up plans to hike output towards a record 11mn b/d in the wake of the Opec meeting on 22 June (MEES, 22 June), now says that it actually cut output to around 10.3mn b/d for July.
The ‘official’ 10.29mn b/d figure, widely disseminated to the press on 3 August, is given plausibility by shipping data that show July Saudi crude exports falling by an even wider margin. (Though the likelihood that Saudi Arabia raised crude burning in July in line with normal seasonal trends further muddies the waters).
Saudi sources give a lack...