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How the OPEC committee’s meeting could make or break oil prices

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A joint OPEC, non-OPEC ministerial monitoring committee will meet Monday in St. Petersburg, Russia.

A highly-anticipated meeting of oil ministers from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and some non-OPEC producers on Monday could make or break oil prices which have already tumbled more than 12% year to date. “As always with OPEC, the most important attendees are Saudi Arabia and Russia,” said Eric Winograd, senior economist at AllianceBernstein. Saudi Arabia and Russia are two of the world’s largest crude producers and oil-exporting giants. “Any sign that either is wavering in its commitment to the [production] quotas would have a large market impact,” said Winograd. The gathering is really just routine for the Joint OPEC-Non-OPEC Ministerial Monitoring Committee, or JMMC—comprised of OPEC members Algeria, Kuwait and Venezuela as well as non-OPEC countries Russia and Oman—which was established late last year. “The big players will most likely indicate that they will continue to live by the [output-cut] deal because if they don’t at least say that, then the deal falls apart and there could be a drop in prices,” said Winograd. The group of oil ministers is tasked with monitoring implementation of the agreement that began Jan. 1 between 13 OPEC members and 11 non-OPEC producers to cut output by about 1.8 million barrels a day, in an effort to bring global supplies back to their five-year average.