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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

World Awaits OPEC Decision on Crude Quota

LONDON -- Terror attacks on the United States together with fears of a dramatic slowdown in the global economy create a backdrop of uncommon urgency for OPEC oil ministers meeting this week to review their crude production quotas.

As suppliers of almost 40 percent of the world's oil, members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries have the power to help shore up the buckling global economy -- or speed its descent into recession.

Stakes are high for Wednesday's meeting in Vienna, Austria. In the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, some analysts say OPEC members might discuss reversing this month's cut in output of 1 million barrels a day -- though the cartel is likely just to renew its existing quotas.

OPEC has a production target of 23.2 million barrels a day, after having slashed its official production this year by a total of 3.5 million barrels a day in an effort to keep prices firm.

The United States is leaning on OPEC to keep prices and supplies stable. U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham met last Sunday in Vienna with OPEC Secretary-General Ali Rodriguez to convey U.S. President George W. Bush's hope that the group would take no action that would drive up prices or threaten supplies should the United States retaliate for the terrorist attacks.

Within hours of those attacks, Rodriguez had declared that OPEC was committed to "continuing their policy of strengthening market stability and ensuring that sufficient supplies are available to satisfy market needs."