UPDATE 1-OPEC set for no change despite $90 oil

Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:37pm GMT

* No hike needed-Angola

* OPEC forecasts lower demand growth than IEA

* Timing of next meeting in question

(Updates throughout)

By Hugh Bronstein and Robert Campbell

QUITO, Dec 10 (Reuters) - OPEC ministers arriving for a Saturday meeting look set to hold oil output steady, leaving traders to question at what price the group might open the taps to stop fuel inflation hurting the global economy.

With oil trading near $90 a barrel, OPEC and the International Energy Agency, the energy consumer watchdog, painted widely divergent pictures of global demand and the need for the group to add production.

Oil prices are at the top end of the $70-$90 a barrel range flagged by Saudi Arabia recently as the level consumer nations could cope with, but concern about the potential damage of rising fuel costs on a recovering world economy is mounting.

If oil prices hold at current levels for a sustained period of time it could damage recovery, IEA chief economist Fatih Birol told Reuters, while analysts said a push toward $100 a barrel from around $88 on Friday would increase the chance of OPEC action.   Continued...

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