Pétrole: le début de la remontée?

Les prix du pétrole semblent être à la hausse à nouveau après une chute des prix sans précédents. Cette chute a été causée par une chute tout aussi impressionnante de la demande suite à la crise financière qui continue d’étouffer les économies mondiales.

[Economist] RISING oil prices, believes Ali al-Naimi, Saudi Arabia’s oil minister, may soon “take the wheels off an already derailed world economy”. On the face of things, this concern is absurd. The plunge of $115 in the price of oil from its peak last July to its nadir in December was the most precipitous the world has ever seen. Demand for oil is still falling, as the world economy atrophies. Rumours abound of traders hiring tankers to store their excess oil. Rich countries’ stocks cover 62 days’ consumption, the most since 1993 (see chart 1). The average over the past five years has been 52 days’ worth.

Nor are oil firms pumping nearly as much as they could. OPEC has announced three separate rounds of production cuts since September in a bid to steady prices. In all, it has vowed to trim its output by 4.2m barrels a day (b/d). That leaves them with as much as 6m b/d of spare capacity. Despite this growing glut, however, the price of oil has been rising steadily in recent weeks (see chart 2). On Wednesday May 20th it closed above $60 a barrel for the first time in more than six months. That marks an increase of more than 75% since February. The price of futures contracts suggests that energy traders see the price rising higher still in the coming months and years. (During the day on Friday it appeared to be nearing $62 a barrel.)

[WallSt] The International Energy Agency, the gold standard for forecasting global supply and demand for crude oil, says that the world will need 2.56 million barrels per day less than it did in 2008. CNBC reports that the number is the largest drop since 1981.

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