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Oil drawdown exposes wider rift between consumers and producers

Move to rein in rally unsettles tacit cooperation frayed by pivot from carbon

An oil field in Saudi Arabia. Riyadh has in recent years worked to help manage oil prices to mutually acceptable levels.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- The coordinated release of petroleum reserves by major oil consumers including the U.S., China, Japan and India crosses a line that may signal a breakdown in what had been a mostly amicable relationship between the two sides of the market.

The decision was spurred by crude prices jumping to a seven-year high and hovering above $70 a barrel thereafter, driving up energy costs. Major economies, despite their differences, faced a shared need to address a potential threat to the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

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