18 February 2009 | Jake Kanter
The downward slide in the price of oil has been halted, according to the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec).
The group's Monthly Oil Market Report said its efforts to cut production by 4.2 million barrels a day since September 2008 meant oil prices had retreated from "excessively low levels".
The Opec crude oil basket price rose by more than 7 per cent in January to an average of $41.52 (£29.32). Today's basket price is $39.89 (£28.17).
Last year proved to be highly volatile for the price of oil, with costs rising to record levels of around $140 (£99) a barrel in the summer and then plummeting by more than $100 (£70) after September. The low cost of the commodity was affected by falling demand due to weak economic conditions, Opec said.
The report hinted at further cuts in production over 2009 to continue to force the price of oil up. It said: "The high and growing stock levels, particularly for crude oil, are likely to continue to disrupt the overall stability of the market… The current state of the market under prevailing supply and demand uncertainties, combined with the deepening economic crisis worldwide, highlights the necessity and importance of Opec's actions to stabilize the market."