Kuwait’s emir said on Tuesday that falling oil prices were affecting the incomes and development programmes of petroleum-producing Gulf Arab states.
Brent crude oil fell to a 5-year low near $65 a barrel in volatile trade on Tuesday, sliding for a sixth consecutive session on signs of a growing supply glut.
Brent averaged around $110 between 2011 and 2013 and topped $115 in June. Losses accelerated in late November after OPEC decided against reducing its output target, despite its forecasts of a surplus and calls from members including Iran and Venezuela to cut production.
“Among the challenges we face as oil-producing and exporting countries is the decline in prices to levels that have started to affect the income and development programmes of our countries,” Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah said in a speech in Qatar at the start of the annual summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
Sheikh Sabah suggested one of the solutions was greater economic integration within the GCC, a goal often invoked but rarely enacted by the member countries – Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
“We are called today to strengthen the path of our shared economic work … emphasising the necessity of implementing all the agreed-upon important economic decisions between GCC countries to be able to confront the effects of these challenges.”