As oil prices plummeted below $50 per barrel Tuesday Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s largest producer, reaffirmed that it will not cut production targets despite mounting international pressure.

In a speech written by King Abdullah and delivered by crown prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud the Saudi Arabian leader said his country will keep a “solid will” on output targets.

The king, who has been hospitalized since December 31 for pneumonia, blamed slow global economic growth and curbed demand for the oil price squeeze.

“These tensions aren’t new to the oil market, and we’ve dealt with them in the past with a solid will, with wisdom and experience, and we will deal with the current developments in the oil markets in the same way,” the king said.

Since oil prices started to tumble during the summer Saudi Arabia has said it can manage with the lower prices and has made it clear it has no intention of slowing production.

Saudi Arabia is standing by the 30 million barrel per day production target released by OPEC after the group’s November 27 meeting and has repeatedly declined calls for output cutbacks during the past few months.

Venezuelan officials have called Saudi Arabia’s reluctance to trim output a “price war.”

OPEC’s next scheduled meeting is on June 5.


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