REPORT: Saudi Arabia plans to skip OPEC's crucial meeting next week

Saudi Arabia told the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) that it will not attend the scheduled talks with non-members in Vienna on Monday, according to Reuters.

The country is OPEC’s top oil exporter, and wields the most political power among the group of producers.

Monday’s meeting was scheduled to discuss a possible agreement that would limit oil output, and likely lift prices as a result.

There has been optimism that the meeting — unlike talks earlier this year in Doha — would end with an agreement, following the economic damage that cheaper oil has done to many OPEC members. Saudi Arabia, for example, could face higher borrowing costs if oil prices fall further.

Crude oil prices fell after the news crossed. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures, the benchmark for US prices, fell 1.75% to as low as $47.13 per barrel in New York.

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