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[KUWAIT CITY] Kuwait said on Tuesday that the sharp fall in world oil prices is unjustified but that the market may not improve before the second half of this year.
"Nobody can justify the drop now," Oil Minister Ali al-Omair told reporters as prices slid towards six-year lows.
Mr Omair attributed the slide to a production glut of around 1.8 million barrels per day combined with a slowdown in global economic growth.
"We expect this situation to continue until the surplus on the market is absorbed and the world economy improves. Forecasts indicate that this will not happen before the second half of 2015," he said.
World prices have been falling since June but the pace of the slide accelerated in November when the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) decided to maintain its production unchanged at 30 million barrels per day.
Opec members Algeria, Iran, and Venezuela have since called for action to shore up prices but Mr Omair said he did not expect the cartel to review output again before its next regular meeting in June.
"None of the Opec members called for an urgent meeting and we will have our next meeting in June," he said.
Mr Omair said that even if the cartel cut output by one million bpd, it would have little effect on prices.
"It will not be more than the surplus that already exists on the market," he said.