FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The OPEC+ alliance of oil-exporting nations decided on Wednesday to sharply cut output to support falling oil prices that could deal with the global economy is struggling another blow and the rise of the politically sensitive pump prices for US drivers on the eve of key national elections.

Energy ministers cut production by more than expected by 2 million barrels a day starting in November after meeting in their first face-to-face meeting at the Vienna headquarters of the OPEC oil cartel since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The group said the decision was based on “uncertainty surrounding the outlook for the global economy and the oil market.” Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Abdulaziz bin Salman emphasized the cartel’s stated role as a guardian of stable energy markets.

“We are here to remain a moderate force to ensure stability,” he told reporters.

Besides a token trimmed last month, the sharp reduction in the amount of crude oil that OPEC+ supplies to the world is a sharp reversal after months of resuming severe cuts made in the midst of the pandemic. When demand resumed, world prices for energy jumped sharply since Russia attacked Ukrainehelping to fuel the inflation that is squeezing economies around the world.

The impact of production cuts on oil prices — and thus the price of gasoline made from oil — will be somewhat limited because OPEC+ members can no longer meet their quotas.

The decision could help alliance member Russia survive an impending European ban on most of Moscow’s oil and came amid the energy crisis caused by the reduction of natural gas supplies by Russia to Europe, whose leaders call it revenge for supporting Ukraine and imposing sanctions.

Oil is trading well below its summer highs on fears that major global economies such as the US and Europe will plunge into recession due to high inflation, rising interest rates and uncertainty about the war in Ukraine.

“We are going through a period of various uncertainties that may come our way, this is a brewing cloud,” bin Salman said, adding that OPEC+ is committed to staying “ahead.”

The drop in oil prices has been a boon for American drivers, who saw gas prices drop at the gas station even before costs began to rise recently, and for U.S. President Joe Biden as his Democratic Party prepares for congressional elections next month.

“The President is disappointed by OPEC+’s short-sighted decision to cut production quotas while the global economy deals with the lingering negative impact of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine,” the White House said in a statement. energy is paramount, this decision will have the most negative impact on low- and middle-income countries, which are already suffering from high energy prices.”

The Biden administration has said it will put another 10 million barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve on the market next month. He also plans to work with Congress on additional tools to reduce OPEC’s control over energy prices.

Biden tried to get credit for falling gasoline prices average June peak $5.02 — administration officials emphasize the message at the end of March that a million barrels per day will be released from the strategic reserve for six months. High inflation is a fundamental obstacle to Biden’s approval rating and has reduced Democrats’ chances in the midterm elections.

Oil supplies could face further cuts in the coming months when a European ban on imports of most Russian goods takes effect in December. A separate step by the US and other members of the Big Seven rich democracies introduce a price cap on Russian oil could cut supplies if Russia retaliates by refusing to supply countries and companies that comply with the ban.

The EU agreed on a new one on Wednesday sanctions, which are expected to include a cap on Russian oil prices.

Russia “will need to find new buyers for its oil when the EU embargo comes into effect in early December, and it is assumed that it will have to make further price concessions to do so,” Commerzbank analysts said. “So higher prices up front – pushed by production cuts elsewhere – will no doubt be very welcome.”

Diminishing prospects for a diplomatic deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program also lowered prospects for a return to the market of up to 1.5 million barrels a day of Iranian oil if sanctions were lifted.

Oil prices rose this summer as markets worried about a loss of Russian supplies due to sanctions over the war in Ukraine, but fell as worries about a recession in major economies and China’s COVID-19 restrictions weighed on demand for oil.

International benchmark Brent has fallen to $84 in recent days after spending most of the summer months above $100 a barrel. U.S. crude rose to $87.64, while international benchmark Brent rose to $93.21 after the decision.

At its last meeting in September, OPEC+ cut oil production by 100,000 barrels per day in October. The token cut did not help lower oil prices, but it signaled to markets that the group is ready to act if prices continue to fall.

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