October 4, 2018 / 10:53 AM / a year ago

IEA boss urges oil producers to ease supply concerns

FILE PHOTO: Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency attends the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland January 19, 2017. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Major oil producers must take “the right steps” to ease supply concerns that have lifted crude prices to a four-year high, the head of the International Energy Agency told Reuters on Thursday.

“It is now high time for all the players, especially those key producers and oil exporters, to consider the situation and take the right steps to comfort the market, otherwise I don’t see anybody benefiting,” IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said in a telephone interview.

The rise in oil prices to more than $85 a barrel and concerns over global trade are putting heavy pressure on emerging economies, he said.

“Expensive energy is back at a bad time for the global economy,” Birol said.

The recent rally in crude prices was driven by concerns over tightening supplies as exports from Iran dropped sharply before the start of renewed U.S. sanctions on Tehran next month.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, led by Saudi Arabia, and non-member Russia have pledged to boost production.

The Paris-based IEA, set up in 1974 by Western economies to manage supply shocks, is not considering any release of emergency stocks but is closely monitoring the markets, Birol said.

Reporting by Ron Bousso; Editing by Jason Neely and Dale Hudson

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