Bush Appeals to Oil Producers over 'Very High' Prices

US President George W. Bush said on Tuesday on a visit to Saudi Arabia that he hoped oil producers would consider the impact of the current "very high" prices when they are reviewing output.

Bush said at a roundtable meeting with Saudi entrepreneurs that he would speak to King Abdullah "about the fact that oil prices are very high, which is tough on our economy."

"And that I would hope, as OPEC considers different production levels, that they understand that if their -- one of their biggest consumers' economy suffers, it will mean less purchases, less oil and gas sold."

Bush was speaking on the second day of visit to OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia, the world's largest producer of oil.

Crude prices soared to 100 dollars at the start of the year, adding fuel to fears of a US recession, and the state of the economy has become a key issue in the campaign for the November presidential election.

Bush counsellor Ed Gillespie told reporters on Monday that the subject had featured in the US president's talks with other Gulf oil producers.

"There has been discussions of oil and energy along with other issues that have come up in these talks," he said. "They talked about the nature of the market and the vast demand that's on the world market today for oil."

World oil prices fell slightly in Asian trade on Tuesday, with New York's main oil futures contract, light sweet crude for delivery in February, falling 12 cents to 94.08 dollars per barrel.

London's Brent North Sea crude for February slid by seven cents to 92.85 dollars.

Dealers said price losses were limited by increasing political tensions in Nigeria and Iran.

OPEC is due to meet in Vienna on February 1 under pressure to calm prices after shrugging off calls to increase output at its last meeting in December.

Source: AFP

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