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Saudi Arabia sends mixed signals to the oil market

ICE oil trading was closed in observance of Easter holidays in the UK and throughout the Western world on Friday, April 2.

The management of the Egyptian state-owned Suez Canal company announced over the weekend that navigation along the canal has been fully restored, laying to rest the possibility of an oil shortage due to the blockage of navigation via this key trade waterway. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is sending out mixed signals to the oil market by announcing an increase in oil prices for Asian customers, while lowering prices for US and European consumers. This pricing policy could be due to the recent traffic jam in the Suez Canal that pushed marine shipping costs higher. Thus, the Saudis could be attempting to make their oil more attractive to customers.

Oil prices have been in decline this morning, likely due to the ambiguous pricing policy of Saudi Arabia, although this drop might also reflect concerns about a gradual increase in oil exports by Iran, bypassing the embargo. By the time of writing, Brent was down 0.6%, still holding above $64/bbl, and WTI was off 0.57%, still rangebound at $60-61/bbl. Our Brent price forecast for today is $63.8-65/bbl.

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