OPEC surprised traders today by boosting oil production for the first time in a year, Bloomberg reports. Concerns over the U.S. market crisis dragging down the world economy inspired the spike of 500,000 barrels a day. The US reportedly prodded Saudi Arabia to overcome the opposition of other OPEC members and lead them to set a new target of 27.2 million barrels a day.
Algeria, Venezuela and Iran opposed the hike, saying it could trigger a dramatic decline in oil prices. One executive countered that the decision "improves the credibility of the organization because it shows they recognize demand,” and will “do something to avoid the market overheating.” But demand may not be met, as crude oil rose 74 cents to a record high of $78.23 today.