• Tuesday, March 05, 2024
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BusinessDay

Meristem warns of global inflation risk from Saudi-Russia oil cuts

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Meristem, a prominent Nigerian asset management, stockbroking, and financial advisory firm, has warned that Saudi Arabia and Russia’s reduced crude oil production which is expected to drive oil prices higher could worsen global inflation.

This warning was conveyed in Meristem’s recent “Macroeconomic Update: Inflation Expectation” report, shared with BusinessDay.

It said, “Looking ahead, we anticipate the voluntary extension of oil production cuts by Saudi Arabia and Russia to lead oil prices further upward, posing a significant upside risk to global inflation.

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“The duo countries announced their intention to extend their oil supply cuts (1.00 mbpd for Saudi Arabia and 0.3 mbpd for Russia) throughout the remainder of 2023, leading to an upsurge in Brent crude price to USD90.49/bbl as of September 7—the highest level since November 2022.”

The price of crude oil has surged over 2 percent this month. Brent crude, which stood at $85.24 per barrel on August 30, 2023, has now risen to $90.50 per barrel. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) also climbed from $81.63 per barrel on August 30, 2023, to $89.13 per barrel, according to data from the oilprice.com website.

This decision to prolong the oil production cuts was reached on Tuesday, September 5, by these two major oil producers. They remain steadfast in this decision, despite pleas from the U.S. and their Western allies to avert these production cuts.

Read also:Oil prices dip as demand concerns outweigh supply expectations

“The Saudis previewed such an outcome last month with their longer, deeper statement, but today’s move still managed to catch many market participants by surprise. Once again proves that Prince Abdulaziz remains firmly in whatever-it-takes mode,” said RBC Capital Markets analyst Helima Croft, referring to Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman when he spoke to Reuters.

Saudi Arabia is set to prolong its 1 million barrels per day (bpd) oil output reduction voluntarily until December 2023, according to a statement from the state news agency SPA, citing an energy ministry official.

In a similar vein, Russia will also extend its voluntary cut of 300,000 bpd in oil exports until the year-end, as announced by Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak.

Both nations plan to assess these cuts monthly, with the option to deepen them or adjust output levels based on market conditions, as reported by SPA and Novak.

Meanwhile, Meristem noted that sustained strict monetary policies in major economies and weakening economic growth indicators could contribute to curbing inflation.

It said, “However, given that monetary policy remains restrictive and economic growth indicators largely suggest slower output growth, we expect the resultant decline in consumer spending should help to tame inflation to an extent.”