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Global oil benchmark tops $90 for the first time since 2014


A sunset oil pump in Daqing (Heilongjiang Province, China) on July 13, 2006.

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Brent crude futuresThe international benchmark for oil prices, $90, was reached on Wednesday, marking a significant improvement in oil’s recovery from its April 2020 pandemic lows.

This leg is higher due to growing geopolitical tensions with Russia and Ukraine and tight supply amid rebounding demand.

Contracts increased by more than 2% to $90.07. West Texas Intermediate crude futuresThe U.S. benchmark for oil, was also up more than 2 percent to $87.43 per barrel.

Rebecca Babin from CIBC Private Wealth said that Russia’s potential sanctions would drive up crude prices. A Ukrainian invasion could also be a catalyst.

“[E]”We could see more of an supporting bid for crude oil every day that goes by without any de-escalation,” she stated.

Goldman Sachs announced Wednesday that it believes supply disruptions will not occur. But, that there might be some upside in energy prices due to an already tight market.

In a note sent to clients, the firm stated that commodities markets have become more susceptible to disruptions following a few years of relatively low outages after the original Covid shock. This is in spite of low inventories, low spare capacities, and an elastic shale industry, which points to large price shifts to the upside. It also reinforces the need for increased allocations to commodities within portfolios.

Goldman Sachs, which stated that Brent will reach $100 per barrel by the end of this quarter, was adding to the growing number Wall Street firms calling on triple-digit oil.

Barclays stated that prices are reacting partly to geopolitical premiums, but the fundamentals behind the move higher are driving the price up.

Despite OPEC’s oil-producing partners returning oil to market, the group has not been able to increase production in order to meet its goals. U.S. oil shale has not grown as expected and the demand has not been met. Inventory levels are still low.

Energy Information Administration reported Wednesday that crude oil inventories rose by 2.34 million barrels over the week ended January 21. Based on estimates by FactSet, Street analysts expected 150,000 more barrels.

Craig Erlam of Oanda said, “It becomes a matter how long it will take for triple figures.” Although it’s unlikely oil and gas will soon be used for weapons, that could cause a significant increase in the prices of commodities due to how tight they are.