Friday, 29 March 2024 03:47

What Analysts Got Wrong About Oil

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Oil prices have continued to defy Wall Street analysts. Last year, the consensus view was that prices would weaken as the US economy slipped into a recession, with the rest of the world facing a sharper contraction in economic growth. While growth did slow, the US economy continued to expand, and global oil demand increased more than expected. In Q1, the IEA upped its forecast for US oil demand by 110,000 barrels per day due to stronger than expected economic data. 

Additionally, despite predictions from EV boosters, there has been no material impact on oil demand from increased adoption. Similarly, China’s economy has been mired in a slump, yet Chinese oil demand also defied expectations and increased more than expected. In fact, a major lesson of the post-pandemic period is the inelasticity of oil demand. 

On the supply side, US production also surpassed forecasts and made up for any production cuts from OPEC. A major factor is increasing well productivity due to newer drilling techniques. 

Looking ahead, many were skeptical that OPEC+ would remain disciplined, given individual countries’ incentives to increase revenues by boosting production. So far, the cartel has managed to successfully reduce production, which is contributing to the current tight market and a major factor in oil’s upward move YTD. 


Finsum: Last year, many analysts got it wrong when it came to oil. Overall, they were too bearish on the economy and overestimated how much a weak economy would impact oil demand. 

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