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Opec output steady near 2 1/2-year high as Saudi pumps 10m b/d

[NEW YORK] Opec oil production was little changed in April near the highest level since November 2012, as Saudi Arabia pumped 10 million barrels a day.

Production by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries slipped 1,000 barrels to 31.295 million a day this month, according to a Bloomberg survey of oil companies, producers and analysts. Last month's total was revised 267,000 barrels higher to 31.296 million a day, mostly because of a change to the Saudi estimate.

Brent for June settlement fell 24 cents, or 0.4 per cent, to US$65.60 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange at 9:22 am New York time. Brent, the benchmark for more than half the world's oil, touched US$66.72 on Wednesday, the highest since Dec 9.

Saudi Arabia, Opec's top producer, trimmed output by 100,000 barrels a day to 10 million this month. March output was revised 330,000 barrels a day higher to 10.1 million. The country sold oil at a higher-than-projected rate in March as a result of the biggest discounts in at least 15 years.

Market voices on:

The oil market is in "excellent" condition, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, Saudi Arabia's deputy oil minister, said Monday. Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi stressed earlier this month that the kingdom won't yield market share to higher-cost producers.

Opec ministers are scheduled to convene June 5 in Vienna.