英國《金融時報》卡蘿拉•霍約斯(Carola Hoyos)維也納、哈威爾•布拉斯(Javier Blas)倫敦報導 2008-10-24
Investors are betting against Opec successfully cutting enough oil production to counteract the global economic slowdown as the cartel yesterday appeared deeply divided about how to respond to tumbling prices.
Most Opec ministers arriving in Vienna for today's emergency meeting voiced their support for a cut, but had widely divergent views about its size. The more hawkish nations want a cut of about 2m barrels a day while others favour a 750,000 b/d cut.
Saudi Arabia, the group's most powerful member has been quietly reducing its supplies over the past weeks, but has been lobbying for restraint. Opec's hawks – Venezuela and Iran – were pushing for a deeper reduction, while other countries supported a medium-size cut now and another probably in December.
Given the divergent views and rapid weakening oil demand, traders said investors had built financial positions, ahead of today's meeting which suggest they believe prices could fall as low as $50 by December.
The strong buying of put options – contracts that give holders the right to sell oil at a predetermined price and date – came as spot oil prices fell this week to a 16-month low of $ 66.2 a barrel. Oil prices recovered yesterday, rising $1.57 to $68.22. In the last four weeks, the number of oustanding put options contracts at $50 for December has risen almost 30 per cent, to 27,100 contracts, as investors seek protection from tumbling prices.