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Falling prices put pressure on OPEC

Saudi Arabia, which has played the role of swing producer balancing the market, has not trimmed its output as it often has in the past, instead cutting prices to hang on to market share while waiting for other countries to volunteer to share the burden. Meanwhile, prices have continued to slide to about $75 a barrel for the U.S. benchmark grade of West Texas Intermediate. Foto: AP/Shizuo Kambayashi

For most of the past four years, OPEC has had an easy time.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries hasn't had to do much to keep oil prices over $100 a barrel. Disruptions in supply — most notably the Libyan civil war — and rising demand have kept the cartel's coffers full. It has been, say Barclays commodities analysts, the culmination of OPEC's "golden age."..

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