End of price war on oil market in sight?

Commerzbank commoditiesSaudi Arabia has increased its official selling prices for April for consumers in the US, Europe and Asia. The price discount for Asian customers was reduced by $1.4 per barrel. In future, US customers will have to pay $1 per barrel more for Arab Light as in March. The discount for European consumers was lowered by 20 US cents per barrel. Particularly the sharp reduction in the Asian discount came as a surprise and points to reviving demand. At the same time, it may be an indication that the price war initiated by Saudi Arabia in a bid to defend its market shares is gradually coming to an end. This is also suggested by the price increase on the US market, which is good news for US shale oil producers. Nonetheless, oil prices were no longer able to profit additionally from Saudi Arabia’s price hikes, as the Saudi Arabian oil minister had already talked about growing demand last week. It also remains to be seen whether the measures taken so far will ultimately be sufficient to ensure that enough shale oil supply disappears from the market. The focus today will be on US inventory data, which are likely to show that the market is still oversupplied. The US industry association API reported an additional increase in US crude oil stocks by 2.9 million barrels yesterday. This was considerably less than the inventory build reported in preceding weeks, and was thus interpreted as a positive sign by some market observers. We are more sceptical and would point out that crude oil stocks have grown further despite lower imports.

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