CARACAS (Reuters) - OPEC Secretary-General Mohammed Barkindo forecast on Monday that stability would return to oil markets this year while price hawk Venezuela said it hoped its crude basket would rise to $70 in coming months.
The head of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries was back in Caracas for a second meeting in two months with President Nicolas Maduro whom he lavishly praised for an "inspirational" role in the producers' pact to cut output.
"We remain optimistic Mr. President that with the full and timely implementation of this historic decision between us and non-OPEC, in 2017 the situation of our economies will improve tremendously," Barkindo said at a news conference with Maduro.
"And stability to the oil market that has eluded us for nearly three years will be restored on a sustainable basis in the interest of producers, consumers and the global economy."
Under the accord reached in late 2016, OPEC, Russia and other non-members of the producer group will curtail oil output by nearly 1.8 million bpd, initially for six months.
Maduro, who sent officials round the world over the last two years to lobby for output cuts, said he hoped the pact would help raise Venezuela's crude basket to $60 in the first half and $70 later in 2017.
One of the worst-affected nations by the oil price plunge since mid-2014, Venezuela's oil traded at $44.82 last week, versus a 2016 average of $35.15.
Barkindo added that Venezuela, and its new Oil Minister Nelson Martinez, would play a central role in a new OPEC, non-OPEC ministerial committee charted with monitoring production.
(Reporting by Andrew Cawthorne and Corina Pons; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)