LONDON, March 6 (AFP): World oil prices fell Monday before two key meetings this week in Vienna -- one on Iran's nuclear program and the other on OPEC production levels, dealers said.
New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in April, slid 25 cents to 63.42 dollars per barrel in electronic deals.
In London, the price of Brent North Sea crude for April delivery dipped 36 cents to 63.82 dollars per barrel.
"There's not a whole lot of movement in the market Monday. I think the crude market will watch for the two meetings this week," said Victor Shum, an analyst with Purvin and Gertz.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) began its meeting Monday in Vienna shortly before 1000 GMT to consider an IAEA report that says Iran is defying its calls to halt uranium enrichment and to cooperate fully with agency inspectors.
The issue could open the door to possible UN Security Council action against Iran, the second-biggest producer after Saudi Arabia in OPEC.
Iran is accused by Western powers of seeking nuclear weapons under the cover of a civilian energy program.
Another report from Riyadh adds: Saudi Arabia and Kuwait called Monday for OPEC to maintain its current production ceiling in order to cool off high prices when the cartel meets in Vienna this week.
"I believe because of the ... (high) price, we have to maintain our production. I believe that still the prices are high. For that we have to help prices to be more stable," Kuwaiti Energy Minister Sheikh Ahmad Fahd al-Sabah told reporters.
In an interview published Monday, Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Nuaimi also said that OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia does not want the organization to cut its output ceiling of 28 million barrels per day (bpd) so as not to push prices further up when it meets Wednesday.
"I personally think it would not be appropriate to say we should take the step of reducing production because we are convinced that the fundamentals in the market are not correct," Nuaimi told the Saudi-owned pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat.
Nuaimi, whose country pumps some 9.5 million bpd and is the world's top crude exporter, said that while "market factors are stable in terms of oil supplies," prices were kept high by "fear of anything that (might) disrupt supplies" and instability in some producing countries.
Sheikh Ahmad said that the position of Kuwait, which produces around 2.5 million bpd, "is to maintain the production of OPEC to help the prices to be more stable."
The Kuwaiti minister had suggested last month that the market may be oversupplied and that an OPEC cut may be considered.