PARIS (AP) -- The head of the International Energy Agency on Monday urged OPEC not to cut production so as not to stifle the still-growing economies of countries like China, India and Brazil.
"Providing enough oil for those countries is a very important element of maintaining global economic prosperity," Nobuo Tanaka said at a news conference in Paris, where the IEA is based.
"We think that the current level of prices are still very very high and the market very tight. At the end of the year, if OPEC continues current production, we will have a good level of stocks so the market will ease," he said.
Chakib Khelil, president of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, said Sunday that members plan to announce a "substantial" cut at a meeting that begins Friday in Vienna.
Oil prices rose to $73 a barrel in Asia on Monday on expectations of the production cut.
In its monthly report last week, the Paris-based energy watchdog cut its forecast for oil demand this year by 240,000 barrels per day, and slashed its 2009 forecast by 440,000 barrels per day amid the global financial crisis.
But Tanaka said "there is no evidence at the moment of a slowdown" in developing countries such as China, India and Brazil.