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Russia, Saudi Arabia Credited With Helping Spur Oil Price Recovery

The International Energy Agency credited Russia and Saudi Arabia with helping to turn around a plunge in oil prices this year by proposing a global output freeze.

In a report on March 11, the organization that represents oil-consuming nations said the Saudi-Russian effort to gather producers behind a freeze represented a "first stab at co-ordinated action that is intended to stabilize prices."

While the freeze, which is still under discussion and not officially in place, is aimed at pushing oil prices up to around $50 a barrel, the agency said getting prices to stabilize in that vicinity will be difficult and probably will not occur until 2017.

Still, after the devastating collapse in oil prices since 2014, a tentative recovery appears to be underway, the agency said.

"International crude oil prices have recovered remarkably in recent weeks," particularly responding to news of the output freeze, it said. Premium crude prices fell to under $30 a barrel early this year, but have since recovered to around $40.

"This should not, however, be taken as a definitive sign that the worst is necessarily over," the agency said. "Even so, there are signs that prices might have bottomed out."

Based on reporting by AFP and AP

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