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Top Commodity Trader Sees Oil in $80-$100 Range This Year

Oil prices are set to trade in the range between $80 and $100 per barrel this year, Russell Hardy, chief executive at the world’s largest independent oil trader, Vitol Group, said at an industry conference on Tuesday.

Vitol also expects robust global oil demand growth in 2024, at around 1.9 million barrels per day (bpd) higher than in 2023, Hardy told the audience at the FT Commodities Global Summit in Lausanne, Switzerland.  

Oil prices jumped to above $90 per barrel last week—their highest level so far this year and the highest in nearly six months – after tensions resurfaced again in the Middle East and the OPEC+ alliance did not make any changes to the ongoing oil production cuts, leaving them as-is until the end of the first half of the year.

The market is also becoming increasingly bullish on oil. Hedge funds and other money managers boosted their net long position – the difference between bullish and bearish bets – in crude oil futures and options in the week to April 2, data from exchanges showed.

The combined net long in Brent and WTI, the most traded contracts, jumped to a six-month high, while the net long position in Brent Crude surged to the highest level in two and a half years, according to the data compiled by Saxo Bank.  

Vitol expects refined product demand globally to be "a lot, lot higher" in the second half, at around 2 million bpd than in the same period last year, Mike Muller, Head of Asia Vitol, told Gulf Intelligence's Daily Energy Markets podcast on Sunday.

Banks including JP Morgan have said in recent weeks that oil prices could hit $100 per barrel by the end of the summer.

“At face value, and assuming no policy, supply or demand response, Russia's actions could push Brent oil price to $90 already in April, reach mid-$90 by May and close to $100 by September,” JP Morgan strategists led by Natasha Kaneva wrote in a note at the end of March, as carried by Yahoo Finance.

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However, demand destruction could prevent prices from reaching triple digits, JP Morgan says.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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