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U.S. applauds OPEC decision to keep pumping more oil amid economic uncertainty

Click to play video: 'OPEC and allies agree to historic oil production cut'
OPEC and allies agree to historic oil production cut
WATCH: (2020) OPEC and allies agree to historic oil production cut – Apr 13, 2020

The White House on Tuesday welcomed a decision by top oil producers to stick with their plans to raise crude production and touted “close” coordination with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Earlier on Tuesday, a group of producers comprising the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies including Russia stuck to a planned increase of 400,000 barrels per day for February.

The decision not to hike output even more helped lift oil prices further. Brent crude rose 50% last year and has rallied so far in 2022, trading 2% up above $80 on Tuesday.

Read more: OPEC+ sticks to oil output plan despite Omicron uncertainty  

“The administration is focused on making sure supply rises to match demand as the global economy recovers and that Americans see lower prices at the pump – where we have seen progress in recent weeks,” said a spokesperson for the White House’s National Security Council who declined to be named.

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The spokesperson added that the OPEC+ decision would support the global economic recovery.

“We appreciate the close coordination over the recent weeks with our partners Saudi Arabia, UAE, and other OPEC+ producers to help address price pressures. We welcome OPEC+ decision to continue increases in production.”

Click to play video: 'Oil demand not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels'
Oil demand not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels

In prior months, the Biden administration blasted identical increases in production by OPEC+ as insufficient, and criticized the group of producers for hobbling the economic recovery from the recession induced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Biden administration, under pressure due to sharply higher inflation on a range of consumer goods, also took aim at possible price gouging by gasoline sellers and announced a release from its Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

OPEC+, which next meets on Feb. 2, sharply cut 10 million barrels per day in production during 2020 as demand tumbled.

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