Oil prices not as well-anchored as Opec claims

Uncertainties that could cause price swings include the US oil industry; the return of Iran to oil markets; demand in China; and the return of political oil risk premium


TO hear Opec ministers in Vienna last week, one would think that the cartel's battle for market share is a complete success and oil prices are now firmly anchored where they are. "The strategy is working . . . It will take time for markets to rebalance," was the mantra from Opec kingpin Saudi Arabia's oil minister Ali al-Naimi and his peers.

However, the oil markets have probably become even less easy to read now than in November last year when Opec launched its shock strategy of adding barrels to the already oversupplied market in the hope of winning back market share from higher-cost rivals such as US shale oil.

If anything, the list of uncertainties that could pull oil prices both ways...


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