The Business Times

Update: Oil drops to five-year low on oversupply forecasts

Published Mon, Dec 8, 2014 · 11:03 AM

[LONDON] Brent crude oil fell almost US$2 a barrel on Monday to a new five-year low on predictions that oversupply would keep building until next year after OPEC decided not to cut output. "Without OPEC intervention, markets risk becoming unbalanced, with peak oversupply likely in the second quarter of 2015," Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Longson said.

In a report dated Dec 5, the US investment bank said oil prices could fall as low as US$43 a barrel next year. The bank cut its average 2015 Brent base-case outlook by US$28 to US$70 per barrel, and by US$14 to US$88 a barrel for 2016.

Brent crude for January was down US$1.45 at US$67.62 a barrel by 1030 GMT, having fallen US$1.72 to US$67.35 - its lowest since October 2009.

UScrude was down US$1.16 at US$64.68 a barrel, after hitting a session low of US$64.63. The U.S. contract, also known as West Texas Intermediate, touched US$63.72 last week, its lowest since July 2009.

At a meeting last month, top oil exporter Saudi Arabia resisted calls from poorer members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to reduce production, fuelling a further slide in prices, which have lost more than 40 percent since June.

Signs that the US shale industry has yet to be hit by the slump in crude prices, adding three new oil-drilling rigs in the last week, further depressed the market. "It was just a small increase, but nevertheless it was an increase despite the sharp price drop," said Carsten Fritsch, senior oil and commodities analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt. "Given continued oversupply and still no sign yet that U.S. oil production starts to show any reaction, perhaps prices will continue to head lower," he added.

Mixed Chinese trade data also unsettled prices.

China's imports shrank unexpectedly in November, falling 6.7 per cent, while export growth slowed, fuelling concerns the world's second-largest economy could be facing a sharp slowdown.

China's crude oil imports rose 9 per cent in November from October to 6.18 million barrels per day, suggesting the country may be boosting its reserves. "If one looks at the overall economic indicators, they are all showing a picture of China which is stagnating rather than having strong growth," said Olivier Jakob, oil analyst at Petromatrix in Zug, Switzerland.



BT is now on Telegram!

For daily updates on weekdays and specially selected content for the weekend. Subscribe to

Energy & Commodities


Get the latest coverage and full access to all BT premium content.


Browse corporate subscription here