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Opec’s imperfect deal

Algiers marks a major policy shift. But the market will want real numbers soon

Saudi Arabia’s experiment with laissez-faire economics is over. Latter-day Naimism, embodied in the pursuit of market share at the expense of prices, has been scrapped. The Algiers agreement of 28 September signals that the kingdom, Opec’s lynchpin, is tired of $45-a-barrel Brent. So don’t be mistaken: Algiers is a big deal. It should put a floor in oil prices. For most, Algiers was also a surprise. The 6% rise in Brent immediately after the meeting reflected this. None of the newswires and few of the analysts expected any agreement (though Petroleum Economist did). But beware the haziness. Yes, the group wants to start cutting again. Yes, it has cobbled together some unity of purpose. But

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