Citigroup: Oil Will Never Return To $100

By Irina Slav

Crude oil prices are unlikely to return to three-digit levels ever again, Citigroup commodity analysts said in a note, as quoted by Bloomberg.

The idea of oil at $100 or higher, “has far more fantasy than reality at its heart,” the Citi analysts wrote, adding that over the long term, $45 per barrel of Brent was a far more likely oil price scenario than $60 a barrel.

In more pessimistic news, the Citi analysts said, “Oil product demand growth will falter significantly, change its contours and never return to pre-covid-19 rates of growth.”

They are not alone in this view of oil product demand after the pandemic erased close to a third of global oil demand at its height. This demand has yet to recover, and many doubt it will recover fully to pre-pandemic levels.

Meanwhile, there are threats from supply, too. Saudi Arabia appears to have threatened fellow OPEC members that it will start a price war again if they don’t do more to fall within their production quota under the OPEC+ agreement aiming to remove 9.7 million bpd from the global supply until the end of this month.

Even though OPEC’s production last month fell to the lowest in 30 years, this may not be enough to spur a stronger recovery in oil prices. As a result, OPEC delegates told the Wall Street Journal that the cartel’s leader in all but name had told laggards it would open the taps if they didn’t fall in line.

Speaking of supply, Citi’s analysts noted in their forecast that with lower production costs generally, production would begin returning at levels of about $45 a barrel, which further made strong price rises even in the longer term unlikely.

Meanwhile, oil prices are again on the decline despite EIA’s inventory report, which estimated a sizeable drop in crude oil last week. The decline was driven by rekindled fears of a resurgence in Covid-19 cases, especially in the United States.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com