October 18, 2008 / 2:24 PM / 12 years ago

Venezuela says expects OPEC to cut supply at meet

An oil pump seen on the shore near Santa Cruz del Norte, Cuba in this June 5, 2008 file photo. REUTERS/Claudia Daut

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela’s economy minister expects OPEC to agree to cut oil supply at an emergency meeting next week to stem crashing world prices by bringing supply and demand into better balance.

The minister, Ali Rodriguez, who is a former OPEC president and a longtime advocate of Venezuela’s hawkish stance to bolster prices, reinforced the emerging position among the organization’s members that supply will be reduced Oct. 24.

“It is likely there will be a cut” at the meeting, he said in an interview broadcast on state television late on Friday.

OPEC’s president has said a cut is likely and Qatar’s oil minister has said it could be about 1 million barrels a day from an organization that supplies the world with about a third of its oil supply.

Oil prices have plunged in recent weeks as a global credit crunch has spurred fears of recessions worldwide that would slash demand for oil. Prices lapped up at $150 a barrel in July but have fallen to less than half that this week.

Leftist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez depends on oil revenue to sustain his high spending on the majority poor of his nation. If oil stays at its current levels for long, he likely will have to use other sources of income — such as loans or savings funds — to keep programs of food subsidies and free health clinics.

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