The OPEC basket price was $24.96 a barrel on 2 June, up slightly from $24.56 a week earlier, following the rollover of the production quota of 21.7 million barrels a day (b/d) for OPEC 10 countries. The price also reflected the US stock figures released by the Energy Information Administration for the week ending 28 June. Gasoline demand has improved strongly as US drivers took to the roads in advance of the 4 July national holiday. However, the rising import figures reflect weak demand elsewhere in the world.

Alvaro Silva, the new OPEC secretary-general, has been invited to Moscow to discuss its planned end to a production curtailment of 150,000 b/d. The cut had been agreed with OPEC in December 2001 to prevent a collapse in prices. OPEC had been reluctant to press ahead with its own cut to arrest its falling market share without the collaboration of non-OPEC producers. The organisation’s next opportunity to increase its own production will be at its September meeting, when it will evaluate the state of the global oil market.