Global trade tensions and their potential impact on crude demand are more significant for oil markets than recent attacks on energy infrastructure in the Middle East, according to Helima Croft, the managing director and global head of commodity strategy at RBC Capital Markets.
“We still have huge fears about demand. That is what’s weighing on this market,” Croft told.
“The big turn in this market this year was the resumption of the trade war (between the U.S. and China) and as long as we have these trade war fears hanging over this market, OPEC can do what they can in terms of production cuts but the question is: Can you move this market higher?”
The next significant meeting of OPEC and non-OPEC producers will take place in December. Croft noted that current oil prices are not where most members of the oil-producing group would like them to be. “Prices are nowhere where the producers want at this point. Many producers have break-even prices for their fiscal budgets (that are) in the $80s. So the current price environment is not good for most of the OPEC countries,” she said.
“The question is does OPEC do a bigger collective cut and does Saudi Arabia, the driver of OPEC policy, take more on their back or are they able to get better compliance (from other producers to cut output)?”
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