Global economic recovery pushes up oil prices

Global economic recovery pushes up oil prices

Elisa Maria Giannetto
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The oil markets are experiencing a new climate of optimism that is pushing up prices towards the 60 dollar mark. But the investors' attention is set on Saudi Arabia's exports

One breathes a new air of economic recovery at world level that gives oxygen to the oil markets and that bodes well for the rise of petrol prices. From the United States to Europe the urge to invest is back, indicating the opening of an expansionary economic phase. The International Energy Agency calculates, in the coming years, a total expenditure of about 700 billion dollars, mainly in infrastructure; a necessary commitment to bridge the gap between crude oil supply and demand internationally. Indeed the consolidation of global growth, which also involves emerging markets, promises to push up oil prices. Despite the downward trend registered in March, during which oil was back to below 50 dollars a barrel, refuting the forecasts at the beginning of the year, analysts confirm the recovery trend towards 60 dollars a barrel for the year at hand. A first significant surge may already occur around May, in conjunction with the next OPEC summit, during which the opportunity to extend the agreement for another six months will be discussed. The feeling of optimism is also supported by those who believe that the growth of US production will not be quick enough to offset the production cuts made by OPEC countries participating in the agreement. Added to this are the statements of the main players such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, who have confirmed their further commitment to the cuts. Yet there are those who highlight how these declarations may conceal other intentions. "There is also tension within OPEC due to the fact the Saudis are pushing exports - explains Scott Darling, regional manager of JP Morgan's Asia-Pacific Oil & Gas. Saudi exports have remained almost the same from year to year, and this could be a problem for some OPEC members, who could once again find themselves competing to acquire market shares."  Investor attention is thus directed to Saudi Arabia because - as explained Grace Liu, Head of Research at Guotai Junan, one of the largest investment banks in China - ''Saudi Arabia is a key country because most of the other producers cannot in fact afford to increase their production, in that they lack the resources''. Despite the uncertainties as to the extension of the OPEC agreement and the Saudi export figures, in general analysts are more inclined to state that we have entered a phase in which optimism outweighs concerns about the excess supply of oil.