updated 8/6/2005 9:20:10 PM ET 2005-08-07T01:20:10

OPEC increased oil production by 300,000 barrels a day in the last two weeks, to around 30.4 million barrels daily, in an attempt to cool surging oil prices, the cartel’s president said.

Sheik Ahmed Fahd Al Ahmed Al Sabah, president of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, said in remarks carried by the Kuwait News Agency on Friday that the market had begun returning to normal and “prices (have) started to fall, especially after the smooth transition of power,” in Saudi Arabia.

He was referring to the investiture of King Abdullah, after the death of King Fahd on Monday. The kingdom is the largest oil producer and exporter in the world.

Crude oil prices settled at a new high, above $62 a barrel, on Friday, rallying on concerns about refinery snags and after the release of a positive U.S. jobs report that sparked fears of inflation.

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