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Key Information About the OPEC Meeting Schedule

When participating in trading on the financial markets, it is always important to keep an eye on the economic calendars so that you are aware of important upcoming news releases and key events occurring in the financial world. An awareness of the scheduling of high-impact data releases means that a trader can plan their trades accordingly, to either avoid the risk of investing at such a volatile time, or to benefit from the rapid movements in asset prices that occur around these events. One of the most important dates to be aware of in the economic calendar is the timing of the OPEC meeting, as the outcome of this meeting will have a significant impact on market prices, and especially that of global oil.

What is OPEC?

opecOPEC is short for the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which is a permanent organisation, designed to be intergovernmental, formed at the 1960 Baghdad Conference by the nations of Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq and Iran. These five founding countries were later  joined by another nine member countries: Qatar in 1961, Indonesia in 1962, Libya in 1962, United Arab Emirates in 1967, Algeria in 1969, Nigeria in 1971, Ecuador in 1973, Angola in 2007 and Gabon in 1975. While some of these states have on occasion temporarily suspended their membership of the organisation, they are all currently participating members of OPEC. The headquarters of OPEC were originally located in Geneva in Switzerland; however after 5 years, they were relocated to Vienna, Austria.

The purpose of OPEC is to unify and coordinate the policies pertaining to petroleum amongst its member countries, with the aim of securing stable and fair pricing on behalf of producers of petroleum, as well as ensuring a regular, economic and efficient petroleum supply to consuming nations, and guaranteeing fair returns on capital to anyone investing in the petroleum industry. The 14 nations who are members of OPEC accounted in 2015 for 43% of the world’s oil production, as well as holding 73% of global “proven” oil reserves. This means that OPEC has a significant impact on the prices of oil around the globe. Over the last decade, the world economy has represented a major risk to oil markets because of macroeconomic uncertainties and heightened risk about international financial systems. Increasing amounts of social unrest around the world have also had a major impact on supply and demand, although overall, balance was more or less maintained in the market until 2014, when oversupply combined with speculation resulted in a fall in global oil prices. More recently, there have been further shifts in trade patterns, with increasing demand in Asian countries combined with a stronger world focus on environmental concerns, and an expectation of a new climate-change agreement to be led by the United Nations. Despite this, the OPEC nations still continue to aim for stability across the oil market.

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Which are the Current Member Countries of OPEC?

The following countries are currently members of OPEC:

  • Angola
  • Algeria
  • Ecuador
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Kuwait
  • Libya
  • Nigeria
  • Qatar
  • Saudi Arabia
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Venezuela

Sudan issued an application for membership of OPEC in October 2015, and is currently awaiting a formal decision as to whether or not its application has been successful.

Production Comparison of OPEC Countries

Country Region Membership Years Population Area (km2) Oil Production Proven Reserves
Algeria Africa 1969–present 39,542,166 2,381,740 1,721,000 12,200,000,000
Angola Africa 2007–present 19,625,353 1,246,700 1,756,000 90,60,000,000
Ecuador South America 1973–1992 and 2007–present 15,868,396 283,560 556,000 8,240,000,000
Gabon Africa 1975–1994 and 2016 1,705,336 267,667 213,000 2,000,000,000
Indonesia South East Asia 1962–2008 and 2016–present 255,993,674 1,904,569 917,000 3,740,000,000
Iran Middle East 1960–present 81,824,270 1,648,000 3,377,000 157,300,000,000
Iraq Middle East 1960–present 37,056,169 437,072 3,364,000 140,300,000,000
Kuwait Middle East 1960–present 2,788,534 17,820 2,767,000 104,000,000,000
Libya Africa 1962–present 6,411,776 1,759,540 516,000 48,470,000,000
Nigeria Africa 1971–present 181,562,056 923,768 2,428,000 37,140,000,000
Qatar Middle East 196–present 2,194,817 11,437 2,055,000 25,240,000,000
Saudi Arabia Middle East 1960–present 27,752,316 2,149,690 11,624,000 268,350,000,000
United Arab Emirates Middle East 1967–present 5,779,760 83,600 3,474,000 97,800,000,000
Venezuela South America 1960–present 29,275,460 912,050 2,685,000 297,740,000,000
OPEC Total 707,380,083 14,027,213 34,288,000 1,216,840,000,000
World Total 7,256,490,011 510,072,000 80,043,000 1,656,130,000,000
OPEC Percent 10% 3% 43% 73%

How Many OPEC Meetings are There Each Year?

The supreme authority of the OPEC organisation is the OPEC conference, and this is made up of delegations that are normally spearheaded by the oil minister of each respective member country. The OPEC Secretary General is the organisation’s chief executive. Ordinarily, the conference takes place at their headquarters in Vienna, Austria, and in normal circumstances it occurs a minimum of twice per annum, with extra meetings taking place as and when required. Generally, the conference operates on the principle of unanimity, with each member having one vote, and every country having to pay the same fee for membership into an annual budget. In practice, as Saudi Arabia stands out from the other member countries as being the biggest and most profitable oil-exporting country worldwide, it has the capacity to act as a swing producer, balancing global markets, and therefore serves as the de facto leader of OPEC.

When is the Next OPEC Meeting?

Here is the schedule for the upcoming OPEC meetings:

OPEC Meeting Dates for 2017

Month Date Event
May 25 172nd (Ordinary) OPEC Meeting

What is the Significance of OPEC Meetings for Traders?

Fundamental analysis is always important for a trader who wishes to achieve the best possible success in the financial markets, and keeping a close eye on the economic calendar and economic indicators is a major part of this. OPEC meetings have a significant impact on the global prices of oil, which in turn affect the prices of numerous other assets, and also impact on global economies and currencies. Having an awareness of the dates on which an OPEC meeting has been scheduled enables an investor to prepare in advance for the volatility such an event brings in its wake, and they will therefore be able to use this information to either avoid making any trades until the outcomes of the meeting are known, or alternatively to take a calculated risk of placing their chosen trade at this time in order to capitalise on the expected outcomes of the OPEC Conference.

When Forex trading, it is important to know that global currencies are affected by economic factors such as geopolitical events, interest rates, supply and demand and economic growth. As the economic growth of a country as well as its exports are all linked to domestic industry, it is important to know that the pricing of commodities like oil will influence the currencies of some countries more than others. When there is a decline, or indeed an increase, in the price of oil, it will have a major effect on the economies of certain countries, with three of the currencies that are most impacted by commodity prices being the New Zealand Dollar, the  Canadian Dollar and the Australian Dollar. This information is obviously vital to know if you are a keen Forex trader, especially if you have an interest in profiting from trading these specific currency pairs. The decisions taken at OPEC meetings, such as whether to maintain or freeze oil production, will of course have a measurable impact on the value of the affected currencies, and this data can be used to inform the trades being placed in the volatile market that surrounds these key economic events.

If you are a trader who is keen to avoid taking risks with your money, you should steer clear of investing in currency pairs or other affected assets around the time of the scheduled OPEC meetings, as this period traditionally sees a considerable amount of price movement, and the chances of making a loss are much higher. Alternatively, you may wish to pay close attention to the expert predicted outcomes of the OPEC meetings, and place your trades in accordance with these predictions in an attempt to capitalise on this volatility in the hope of gaining a higher profit.

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