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Oil Prices Plunge Amid Global Economic Concerns, Overshadowing Saudi Output Cut

Sliding oil prices due to escalating worldwide economic fears dampen the impact of Saudi Arabia's recent promise to slash oil production.


Understanding the Oil Price Drop

On Tuesday, the global oil market experienced a significant price tumble. Brent crude futures dropped by $1.30, a drop of 1.69%, resting at $75.41 per barrel. Concurrently, U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude saw a decrease of $1.39, equivalent to a 1.93% decline, bringing it to $70.76 per barrel. This trend follows a strong rally from the previous trading session, largely triggered by Saudi Arabia's commitment to reduce its oil output.

The Saudi Output Cut and its Consequences

Over the weekend, Saudi Arabia, the world's leading oil exporter, announced its decision to lower output by one million barrels per day (bpd), intending to reach nine million bpd by July. Following this announcement, Brent crude futures rose by as much as $2.60 a barrel on Monday, while WTI increased by a significant $3.30 per barrel. Despite the initial optimism, analysts at Citi believe this cut may not trigger a sustainable price increase, given the looming economic concerns.

Recession Fears and Impact on Oil Demand

The global market continues to focus on the potential risk to demand. Specifically, the growing recession fears are fuelled by underperformance in the U.S. services sector. Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank, pointed out that these concerns may pause the Federal Reserve's decision on interest rates. With higher interest rates often resulting in curtailed energy demand, all eyes are on the Fed's next move.

The Role of Future Economic Data

Further impacting the market sentiment were statistics showing an unexpected decline in German industrial orders this past April. From brokerage PVM, Tamas Varga noted that if upcoming economic data indicates entrenched inflationary pressure and investors anticipate further interest rate hikes, demand forecasts could be downgraded. This could nullify the anticipated bullish impact of the latest OPEC+ output decision.

Anticipating Important Upcoming Data

Looking ahead, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) is scheduled to release its short-term energy outlook on Tuesday afternoon. Moreover, China's May trade data release on Wednesday is expected to provide fresh demand signals for the world's second-largest oil consumer.