CARACAS, Venezuela, Apr 20 (Reuters) Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez today said that 50 dollars per barrel is a fair price for oil, a statement that came as crude prices this week set a new record above 70 dollars per barrel.
''I believe that a price ... of 50 dollars is fair,'' Chavez said during a press conference in Brazil. ''Less would be unfair.'' Chavez did not specify if he was talking about Venezuelan oil or US oil, which today reached a record of 72.49 dollars per barrel.
The government of Venezuela, the world's No 5 oil exporter, insists that oil prices will remain at their current levels because oil reserves are drying up.
''There will continue to be upward pressures (on prices) simply because oil is starting to run out,'' he said.
Chavez has promised a socialist revolution to end poverty in Venezuela and roll back free market reforms in Latin America.
He has maintained vast political support by spending billions of dollars in windfall oil profits on social development programs that benefit Venezuela's poor majority.
REUTERS PG PM0232