Oil market in limbo as OPEC+ talks fail. How top 5 brokerages see things playing out
06 Jul 2021
By Saket Sundria and Sharon Cho
The breakdown of OPEC+’s meeting on production levels has left the oil market in limbo. The immediate consequence is that an expected increase in output in August now likely won’t happen, leaving the world short of barrels as the economic recovery gathers pace.
The lack of unity within the alliance has also raised the specter of a repeat of last year’s price war when members pumped at will and sent oil prices crashing. The situation is still very fluid and it’s possible talks could be revived in the coming days. Here’s how analysts see things playing out.
With no more OPEC+ supply imminent, the oil market is likely to tighten further and that could result in Brent climbing to $80 a barrel by September, analyst Giovanni Staunovo said in a note. The alliance could still reach an agreement, given negotiations will likely continue among member states. It remains unclear if the failure to agree on a supply deal will translate into lower compliance rates next month. The release of Saudi Aramco’s official selling prices for August in the coming days should provide more clarity.
If the group keeps output unchanged in August that should be bullish for prices, but the likelihood that members actually keep production steady isn’t very high, Warren Patterson, head of commodities strategy in Singapore, said in an interview. Members will probably start pumping more, and there will likely be a breakdown in the broader deal. There is potential for a price war like last year, but all involved will try to avoid that. A clear solution would be to separate the two elements of the deal: agree on the 2 million barrels a day supply increase for August to December, and then tackle the extension of the deal at a later date.
If there’s no increase in production, then oil at $85 to $90 a barrel is on the cards, Fereidun Fesharaki, chairman of industry consultant FGE, said in a Bloomberg TV interview. However, it’s likely some sort of compromise will be reached over the next one to three weeks, although prices are likely to rise until this happens. It’s unlikely that the United Arab Emirates will leave OPEC,, but it wants more independence in policy making. With prices at these levels, there will probably be a lot more U.S. shale production coming back next year.
RBC Capital Markets
Although back-channel talks are reported to be continuing, questions about the UAE commitment to remain in OPEC will likely grow in the coming days, analysts Helima Croft and Christopher Louney said in a note. Since the launch of its Murban benchmark in March, there has been a distinct question mark over the durability of UAE’s OPEC membership and its willingness to continue idling its expensive spare capacity. This UAE-Saudi Arabian dispute appears to be more than about oil policy, with UAE seemingly intent on stepping outside the kingdom’s shadow and charting its own course in global affairs.
A no-deal that keeps output unchanged after July isn’t an outcome that any of the OPEC+ members want, oil markets analyst Louise Dickson said in a note. That may be raising expectations for an agreement that would satisfy the UAE a bit more. The market could see an immediate price correction if OPEC+ eventually agrees to increase output by well over 500,000 barrels per day in August. All eyes will be on potential leaks from behind-closed-doors unofficial negotiations. It could be a wild price ride in either direction.