OPEC Maintains Ceiling

From Associated Press

OPEC ministers decided Thursday to maintain their production ceiling despite the possibility that Iraq will jump back into the oil market.

Analysts predicted prices will be stable for now but that Iraq’s return could bring them down. Members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries are benefiting from the highest oil prices in years.

OPEC ministers say demand for oil is strong enough to cushion any shock from Iraq’s return after a six-year absence. The United Nations banned Iraqi crude exports after Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait, but a limited resumption is now being negotiated and Iraq has said it could be back in business within weeks.

Prices rallied on the London futures market Thursday, with Brent crude oil for January delivery up 13 cents a barrel to $22.85. New York markets were closed for the Thanksgiving holiday, but oil traders there had pushed the price higher Wednesday.