Four Oil Producing Nations Agree To Freeze Output

Oil ministers from three Opec countries, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Venezuela, as well as Russia, have agreed to freeze oil output at January levels, as long as others follow suit.

The announcement came after the four ministers met in Doha on Tuesday.

The move is designed to support the oil price, which has dropped sharply in recent months.

Oil prices have fallen about 70% from their recent peak of around $116 a barrel in June 2014.

The steep decline is due to oversupply, sluggish demand and worries about the global economic outlook.

Brent crude, which had been up more than 5% earlier, fell back to be 0.76% higher at $33.61 a barrel, while US crude was up 0.3% at $29.85

Saudi Arabian oil minister Ali al-Naimi said: "Freezing now at the January level is adequate for the market. We don't want significant gyrations in prices, we want to meet demand. We want a stable oil price."