Oil forecasters predict Saudi Arabia, Russia to extend 1 MMbpd production cut into 2024
(Bloomberg) – As oil prices languish near a three-month low, forecasters are already predicting that Saudi Arabia won’t sit idle.
The OPEC+ leader is likely to extend its 1 MMbpd production cut — introduced over the summer — into next year, according to analysts at UBS Group AG, FGE, Commerzbank AG and Eurasia Group. RBC Capital Markets says it looks increasingly likely.
Extension “is now very probable, given that the oil market would otherwise risk seeing a high supply surplus in the first half of next year,” Commerzbank’s Carsten Fritsch said in a report on Friday.
Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman insisted this week that global oil demand remains healthy, blaming Brent crude’s slide to $80 a bbl on a “ploy” by speculators. World inventories are tight, and data from top consumers like the U.S., China and India appears robust.
Nonetheless, with no impact on Middle East oil exports from the conflict between Israel and Hamas, traders are shifting focus to worrying macroeconomic indicators, like the disappointing trade figures released by China this week.
Prolonged action from the Saudis, and presumably their fellow OPEC+ leader Russia, ought to limit further price downside, the analysts say. The 23-nation OPEC+ alliance is due to meet on Nov. 26.
If that doesn’t suffice, RBC’s commodities strategist Helima Croft suggests that Riyadh could squeeze supplies further to scare off short sellers. “We see no indication that the Saudi energy minister is prepared to throw in the towel,” she writes.
In fact, rising supplies from other producers like Guyana, Brazil and the U.S. may mean the kingdom’s strategy faces a very long haul: S&P Global Inc. believes the Saudis will be forced to continue the cuts all the way into 2025.