JPMorgan Sees Natural Gas Crisis Pushing Oil to $84 By Year-End
(Bloomberg) -- JP Morgan Chase & Co. is warning that worsening natural gas crises in Asia and Europe will spur so many power generators to switch to petroleum-based fuels that crude will reach $84 a barrel by the end of the year.
The price outlook represents a 7.7% increase from bank’s previous forecast and a team of analysts that includes Natasha Kaneva and Gregory Shearer noted it may shift even higher.
Brent futures, the international oil benchmark, have surged more than 50% this year as the world’s biggest economies emerged from pandemic-driven lockdowns and crude supplies have been stretched. The futures traded close to $79 in London on Friday are were on pace for the best annual performance since 2009.
Gas is so expensive in some places that switching to oil-based fuels could add more than 900,000 barrels to daily demand, the JPMorgan analysts wrote in a note to clients. Their forecast isn’t even the most bullish number being bandied about: Bank of America earlier in the day said crude may top $100.
Despite their bullish outlook, the JPMorgan team said significant downside risks remain. Chinese refiners appear to be reducing production rates or preparing to idle some equipment to perform repairs and maintenance -- both of which would curb demand for crude. In response, they doubt OPEC and allied oil exporters will make any change to existing output targets when they gather next week.
“Considering the declining refinery runs and weakening physical market indicators in China we do not see the incentive for the OPEC+ alliance to boost oil production beyond the currently-committed 400 kbd when it meets next week,” the analysts wrote.
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