Iraq cautious on OPEC increasing output

Iraq, a major member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, has expressed a cautious stance on the group raising output beyond its current plan.

This follows announcements earlier this week by the United States, Japan and other nations on their plans to release part of their oil reserves. They are aiming to help curb the spike in crude oil prices.

Iraq's oil ministry suggested in a statement on Thursday that the releases will have no major impact in the short term.

It said OPEC has been successful because it has been cautious when deciding whether to increase or decrease production.

The ministry added that oil markets remain fragile and that any additional output can lead to a collapse in prices or an oversupply.

OPEC members and some other oil producing nations, such as Russia, are due to hold talks next week to discuss their production levels for January and beyond.

The United Arab Emirates and Kuwait -- both OPEC members -- issued separate statements on Thursday, saying they would not adopt positions ahead of the talks.

Saudi Arabia, which leads OPEC, has still not reacted to the coordinated move by the US and other countries.