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Qatar, a small, wealthy country in the Middle East, announced its resignation from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) on December 3rd.  OPEC is the most powerful oil cartel in the world, holding a near monopoly over the oil industry that allows the group--which now consists of 14 countries, most notably of which are Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Iraq, and Iran—to exercise nearly complete control of oil prices and production.  Russia also holds an alliance with OPEC, more specifically with Saudi Arabia, and shares an influence on the oil market.

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Today, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will be conducting a highly anticipated meeting regarding the future production of oil and its prices. The main issue the meeting will focus on is the amount of oil supplied by members of OPEC, with an emphasis on the leading oil producing countries in the group. Investors are anxiously awaiting the outcome of the OPEC decision to potentially cut oil production globally. Outcomes of the previous meeting conducted in Algiers seemed hopeful, as the majority of OPEC members agreed to cut as much as 2 percent of their total oil production.