Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BofAML) warns that Brent crude oil could reach $90 per barrel stemming the new IMO rules regarding shipping fuels and a weaker dollar courtesy of a de-escalation in the US/China trade war, Reuters reported on Friday.
BofAML claims that the IMO rules regarding the allowable sulphur content, to take effect in 2020, could cause a spike in middle distillate demand, pressuring prices upward. Also pushing up prices could be the weakening dollar should the trade war between China and the United States simmer down.
In February, BofAML estimated that Brent crude would be trading within the $50 to $70 per barrel band through 2024, with prices “anchored” around $60 per barrel, citing rising US shale supplies and slowing oil demand growth. Shorter term, BofAML saw Brent rising to $70 per barrel citing tighter supply as Venezuela, Iran, Mexico, and OPEC produce less oil—some on purpose and some not.
Last May, BofAML warned that oil could rise as high as $100 per barrel this year. At that time, Brent was trading near $77.
Along with its $90 per barrel warning, BofAML said there was a risk that Brent could dip to $50 per barrel, if the trade war between China and the United States were to hurt consumer sentiment and lead to an economic downturn.
“With military tensions rising in the Middle East and trade tensions rising between the U.S. and China, we believe that chances of a tail event driving Brent crude to these price extremes (are) higher than what option markets are currently pricing,” BofAML said in a note on Friday.
Brent options show a 10% chance of prices heading north of $90, and just a 6% chance of it falling below $50 per barrel.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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