The normalisation of diplomatic relations between the two Middle Eastern powerhouses is a bearish event for flat prices. The main impact is going to be seen in the Yemen war, removing some risk premium due to higher costs of insuring Saudi oil cargoes and its onshore infrastructure’s exposition to attacks. In the long run, the deal could also result in more production from Iran and Yemen. Finally, it is an essential foreign policy success for China but is yet to mark the beginning of a new era.
February marks the group’s highest combined level of oil exports in a year. OPEC+ oil exports jumped by 612 kbd m/m in February to 28.1 Mbd (excluding Iran and Venezuela) despite a large decline of 375 kbd from the group’s non-OPEC countries. On the other side, OPEC members increased shipped volumes by 826 kbd, driven by a major uptick from Iraq (+390 kbd m/m), Saudi Arabia (+250 kbd), Nigeria (+137 kbd) and Libya (+135 kbd).
The Chinese reopening has certainly injected a fresh set of uncertainties into a market already overrun with unknowns. In the weeks since China has undone much of the zero-Covid policies in place for more than two years, mobility has shown clear signs of picking up and yet, refinery runs surged to new highs months earlier.