Crude prices climbed to the highest since 2014
OPEC expects global oil markets to remain “well-supported” this year by robust demand, maintaining the confident outlook that has allowed the group to revive production.
Crude prices climbed to the highest since 2014 in London and New York on Tuesday, with the recovery in fuel consumption largely unimpeded by the omicron variant while a range of disruptions restricts supply. Brent futures topped US$88 a barrel.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said in its monthly report that the market’s strength will persist, even as central banks tighten monetary policy. Stockpiles are considerably below their five-year average, the group’s data show.
OPEC repeated its prediction from last month that “the impact of the omicron variant is projected to be mild and short-lived” -- a projection that has so far been vindicated.
The bullish outlook from OPEC’s Vienna-based research department ought to reassure the producers when they gather early next month.
OPEC and its partners -- a 23-nation alliance led by Saudi Arabia and Russia -- have been returning the output they halted during the pandemic in gradual installments.
Yet this too has been a bullish catalyst for crude markets as the coalition fails to increase at its planned pace, with a number of members hindered by under-investment and unrest.
In December, OPEC’s members added just 166,000 barrels a day, compared with a target of 250,000 a day, the report showed. Nigeria saw its output fall once again.
OPEC kept forecasts for global oil demand and supply this year largely unchanged from last month’s report.