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Opec officials say no need to raise oil output target

[VIENNA] Opec officials dismissed comments from Wall Street bank Morgan Stanley on Monday that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries may raise its oil output target when the producer group meets this week.

The cartel's present production rate is around 31 million barrels per day (bpd), and the group forecasts the call on Opec stocks to rise to 30.5 million bpd in the second half of the year, the bank said in a note ahead of Opec's June 5 talks.

Both are higher than the group's output target of 30 million bpd, which has remained unchanged for several years.

One Opec delegate, in Vienna for the group's meeting, said there was no need to raise the target.

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"You see that Opec is already producing higher (than 30 million bpd)," the delegate said.

An official from an African Opec country, asked about the possibility of raising the target, said: "I am not so sure that it will be adopted. It sounds unlikely now that Opec countries are struggling with an excess of supply from them and non-Opec countries."

Opec is likely to keep its output target unchanged because the global oil market appears in good shape and prices are expected to firm from current levels, several Opec officials told Reuters on Sunday.

Front-month Brent crude was down 22 cents at US$65.34 a barrel in Monday trading. US light crude was down 2 cents at US$60.28 a barrel.

Opec oil supply in May climbed further to its highest in more than two years as increasing Angolan exports and record or near-record output from Saudi Arabia and Iraq outweighed outages in smaller producers, a Reuters survey showed.

Opec supply rose in May to 31.22 million bpd from a revised 31.16 million bpd in April, according to the survey, based on shipping data and information from sources at oil companies, Opec and consultants.