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Struggle for Power in Saudi Hits Oil Prices

2017-11-08 | 10pm

The head of energy trading at Seaport Global Securities, Roberto Friedlander recently stated that, “Oil prices are more likely to rise toward $70 a barrel than sink back to $50 in the wake of the biggest political shakeup in Saudi Arabia in decades.” Almost two years back, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman arranged the arrest of few princes and ministers for crackdown on corruption. However, few analysts also stated it as a move to establish his power and reorganise the economy of Saudi Arabia. It’s high time for Saudi to make a return for its economic growth as this is significant for the survival of the crowned prince. Friedlander stated, “The Saudi Situation means $70 before $50.” There is huge anticipation in Saudi that Bin Salman would soon become the king. He is working hard for the growth of revenue to transform Saudi economy. His major plan is named as Vision 2030, where selling off a stake in state oil giant Saudi Aramco next year is to be done. For share sale, it is very important that oil prices need to be stable. To shrink the worldwide crude stock, Saudi Arabia is organising production cuts among OPEC and other oil exporters t0 supports costs. Friedlander further added, “The Saudis CAN'T afford a renewed decline in prices or a decline in oil revenues," Friedlander said, adding "they would certainly prefer to risk tightening the oil market too much and see prices hit $70, rather than risk letting them slip back to $50.” According to the latest survey, the International benchmark Brent crude topped $60 a barrel on signs the oil market is tightening. Brent rose as high as $62.90 on Monday, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude peaked at $56.28 — both highs going back to July 2015. According to Helima Croft, global head of commodity strategy at RBC, “A Brent crude price of $60 a barrel provides the optimal conditions for many of bin Salman's initiatives to overhaul the economy.” As per the events happened this weekend, she is expecting a few changes in Saudi oil policy. She also stated, “MBS seems strongly committed to anchoring the OPEC agreement deep into 2018 and moving ahead with the Aramco sale.”  Before the crackdown, Barclays stated that Brent crude seems to be consolidating around $60 a barrel and there is possibility of drifting toward $70 a barrel. Bank further stated that the move would be unsustainable according to the fundamentals of the oil market and investor positioning. In accordance with the economic growth and unexpected disruptions which rises due to conflict in Iraq and powerful storms in the United States, Barclays also increased its price target for Brent crude to $60 a barrel in the fourth quarter and $55 a barrel in 2018. Michael Cohen, head of energy markets research at Barclays, stated, “The decision to extend OPEC/Non-OPEC cuts is not a decision for OPEC or Saudi Arabia alone.” He further added, “Neither the OPEC Secretariat nor Riyadh will commit to an extension without Russia's participation, in our view.” .