Conditions for rising oil prices to $100 per barrel have been announced

Conditions for rising oil prices to $100 per barrel have been announced

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But the price situation is not developing in a straight line now. On the London ICE Futures exchange on April 11, the average price was $89.74 per barrel. At the same time, a wave of fears of a retaliatory strike from Iran against Israel for the liquidation of the consulate in Damascus again pushed up prices. On April 12, $92.11 was immediately fixed. Which happened for the first time since October last year. But during the day, quotes were mostly within the range of no higher than $91.23.

So getting $100 per barrel of someone else’s oil is not so easy. Moreover, many analysts are in no hurry. Thus, on April 9, the US Energy Information Administration estimated the average price of Brent in the second quarter of this year at $90 per barrel ($88 in the previous report). The average for the year is $89.

The reason for the relatively modest forecasts is the increase in commercial oil reserves in the United States.

On April 12, the International Energy Agency (IEA) lowered its forecast for oil demand in 2024 by 130 thousand barrels per day – to 102 million bpd due to weak consumption figures in the first quarter, as well as fears that high oil prices will undermine demand. Therefore, the IEA also does not see a price above $90 within a year.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is more optimistic. The report, published on April 11, claims that global oil demand in 2024 will increase by 2.2 million barrels per day to reach 104.46 million bpd (2.46 million more than the IEA). and in 2025 – 106.31 million bpd.

In addition, OPEC believes that countries not included in OPEC+ will be able to release onto the market this year 100 thousand bpd less than previously assumed – an additional no more than 1.2 million barrels per day.

Therefore, the deficit between supply and demand may reach 1 million bpd, and not 100 thousand, as IEA analysts believe. That is, according to OPEC analysts, there are still grounds for Brent quotes to reach $100 by the summer of this year.

A few days ago, the Bloomberg news agency predicted reaching $100 per barrel by the end of summer. The American investment bank JPMorgan Chase shares the same opinion.

Analysts of these companies point out that even without the influence of the military conflict in the Middle East, problems with global supplies have worsened.

On March 1, Russia stopped exporting gasoline for six months. On March 3, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak announced that in the second quarter Russia would reduce crude oil production and exports by almost 500 thousand barrels per day. In general, after a series of voluntary restrictions on oil production in OPEC+ countries starting in October 2022, the world market will receive 5.66 million barrels per day less raw materials in April-June compared to two years ago.

At the same time, oil supplies may turn out to be even more modest due to the decision of the Mexican state-owned company Pemex to cancel some contracts for the supply of oil to foreign refineries. As a result, exports in March from this OPEC+ member country fell by 35%. This decision also led to an increase in domestic consumption of crude oil in the United States.

As a result, as calculated by Bloomberg, Mexico, the United States, as well as Qatar and Iraq in March reduced their total supplies by more than 1 million bpd.

Thus, Brent price forecasts vary widely. But the main thing for us is different. In March, prices for Urals also began to rise. According to the Ministry of Economic Development, its average export price was $70.3 per barrel (in February $68.3). Now, according to the Argus Media agency, the cost of Urals FOB in the ports of Novorossiysk and Primorsk is $75 per barrel. Far Eastern ESPO FOB in Kozmino – $84. This oil grade, containing less sulfur than Urals, has always traded at a higher price.

And this is at a Brent price of $89–90. Accordingly, with a further increase in price, Russia’s gain will only increase.

Price records naturally supported the federal budget. In the first quarter, according to the Ministry of Finance, the treasury received oil and gas revenues in the amount of 2.9 trillion rubles, which is 71% more than a year earlier.

However, the expected strengthening of the ruble did not happen; it remains relatively stable, although in the last few days it has again weakened somewhat against the dollar and the yuan (the euro is slightly better due to the strengthening of the dollar against the euro currency).

Which raises uncomfortable questions for many observers. Moreover, the balance of payments grew significantly in March. According to the Central Bank’s calculations, exports of goods in March increased by almost 30% compared to winter indicators – $39.6 billion. Imports of goods remained at the level of February – $22.9 billion. As a result, the trade surplus in goods increased to $16.7 billion – the maximum since December 2022.

But these indicators did not strengthen the ruble. The fact is that in this case we are talking about the transfer of ownership of goods from residents to non-residents. This is how statistics are structured according to the balance of payments methodology, which shows not only within the framework of calculations by the Central Bank, but also by customs, how much they must pay under the contract, and not how much they actually credited. A good example is India. According to this country, supplies of Russian crude oil amounted to $45 billion in 2023, but the actual flow of funds into Russia, as is known, is still not completed in full.

That is, foreign exchange earnings do not immediately enter the country’s financial system. This is also indicated by the growth of receivables from non-residents to Russian exporters. Thus, in a message from the Central Bank on April 11, it was stated that foreign assets of Russian residents increased by $15.5 billion in March, which “primarily reflects lags in the receipt of payment for the increased exports in March.”

In addition, according to Bloomberg, in March, export supplies of all Russian energy resources in physical terms increased by 210 thousand barrels per day compared to February and reached 7.8 million bpd. But foreign exchange payments decreased by 20%, to $9.3 billion. This was due to the rapid growth in the export of crude oil compared to petroleum products. As emphasized above, as of March 1, we stopped exporting gasoline, and diesel supplies decreased due to accidents at refineries.

Thus, the growth of oil exports has not yet led (even with a decrease in imports of all goods) to a noticeable strengthening of the ruble. But there remains hope that if the current situation continues in May-June, the currency in the country will finally become larger in reality and the ruble will somehow become stronger. Moreover, the obligation of exporters from the government’s closed list to credit at least 80% of the proceeds to accounts in Russia within 60 days and sell at least 90% of the credited funds within two weeks has not been canceled.

But, apparently, for a reliable and long-term strengthening of the national currency, it is necessary to wait for $100 per barrel of Urals.

Which, of course, raises serious doubts. According to Tel Aviv, 99% of Iranian and Houthi drone and missile attacks on military targets in Israel were repelled. There were no serious injuries or casualties. In the West, this is seen as a victory for Israel. This means that Tehran is not dangerous in a strategic sense. It is no coincidence that on April 15, Brent prices on ICE dropped to $89.7–89.8 per barrel.

A number of expert calculations show that all production cuts in OPEC+ starting in October 2022 provide, at best, a price corridor of $85–89 per barrel. And if we take the situation in the Middle East out of the equation, then this price should last until June 1, until the meeting of the oil ministers of the OPEC+ member countries in Vienna, at which additional restrictions may be introduced. Although this opportunity has almost been exhausted. Russia and Saudi Arabia are unlikely to be ready to reduce production to below 9 million bpd. Therefore, apparently, $100 is not expected this year. Unless, of course, Israel strikes Iran’s nuclear facilities in the coming days. And in response, Tehran will not only launch more UAVs and missiles into the attack, but will also close the Strait of Hormuz, through which 20% of the world’s crude oil and LNG exports pass.

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