KUWAIT CITY (AFP) - Under pressure from OPEC price hawks, Saudi Arabia reluctantly agreed to a mild cut in oil output, but the world's top exporter will do what it takes to keep the market balanced, analysts said on Thursday. "I don't think Saudi Arabia will cut output unless it is necessary. It has been the leader in stabilising prices and striking a balance in the market," Kuwaiti analyst Kamel al-Harami said. "I don't expect other OPEC members to cut either and the most likely scenario is that they will wait until the December meeting to take a 'final' decision," Harami told AFP. The kingdom, which pumps one-third of OPEC production, is caught between the organisation's hawks pressing for deeper cuts to shore up falling prices and US-led Western consumers demanding more supplies, analysts said. Following a marathon meeting on Tuesday, the oil producer cartel sprang a surprise by deciding to cut crude production by 520,000 barrels per day (bpd). The cut will not affect official output quotas of member countries, currently at 28.8 million bpd, but aims at taking extra production off the market. Most countries have been overproducing, Harami said, and to implement the decision all of them would have to reduce output. Ahead of the meeting, Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Nuaimi said the oil market was "fairly well balanced," giving the impression that production levels would remain unchanged. Traditional price hawks Iran and Venezuela led calls for a production cut and were assisted by Algeria and Libya. "Yes. The kingdom came under pressure ... but the 520,000 bpd cut will not have a major impact on prices, because there is up to two million bpd of surplus crude on the market," Saudi economist Ali al-Dakkak said. The United States immediately criticised the decision, with White House spokeswoman Dana Perino saying: "We would like to see more oil on the market, not less." Dakkak, head of Al-Dakkak Economic Studies House, told AFP that "Saudi Arabian oil policy has been for some time based on striking a balance between the two sides, taking into account market conditions and prices. "When there is a shortage in supplies, Riyadh boosts production, and vice versa," he said. The kingdom raised its output by 500,000 bpd in May and June when the oil price was rising rapidly. In August, it pumped 9.45 million bpd, far above its 8.94 million bpd quota, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). Oil prices topped a record 147 dollars in July but have since fallen some 30 percent, dropping below the symbolic 100-dollar mark for the first time in five months on Tuesday, as the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries was meeting in Vienna. Dakkak said he believes the Saudi acceptance of the mild cut has satisfied all sides and avoided a price battle with OPEC hawks. "The Saudi approval satisfied all parties in OPEC as well as consumers. Saudi Arabia does not want to enter into a price war with some OPEC members," he said. The decision was also necessitated by fears that oil prices could collapse because of excess supply. OPEC is still haunted by the price collapse of the late 1990s when oil prices crashed from around 20 dollars a barrel to just 8.00 dollars. "There is a real fear that oil prices could collapse because supply is more than demand. Though Saudi Arabia can sustain a sharp drop in prices, it is looking for an objective price of 90-95 dollars a barrel," Dakkak said. Oil prices fell further on Thursday. Brent North Sea crude for delivery in October dropped 56 cents to 98.41 dollars a barrel. New York's main contract, light sweet crude for October, slid 51 cents to 102.07 dollars.