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1 Annual Report International Oil Prices: Box 6 International Oil Prices: Notwithstanding the state of the world economy, characterised by sluggish growth in 2002, the world crude oil markets have experienced a turbulent year, overshadowed by geopolitical developments in the Middle East. The climate of uncertainty around Iraq translated into a war premium on crude oil prices for the second half of 2002 and first quarter of 2003, as Western countries announced plans to boost the build-up of their strategic oil reserves. The table below summarises the trends in international crude oil (monthly average) futures oil prices for fiscal years , and The period July 2002 to September 2002 witnessed a sustained upward pressure on world oil prices as regional security considerations in the Middle East, relating to the United Nations s arms inspections in Iraq, added to market concerns about the already tight balance between the global oil demand and supply. Whilst the oil futures market fundamentals were still edging on a war psychology during the fourth quarter of 2002, the world oil market experienced further volatility stemming from the potential supply disruption arising out of a major oil strike during December 2002 in Venezuela, which supplies, on average, 13 per cent of US crude and refined petroleum products. The sustained upward pressure on the spot and futures oil markets was exacerbated by depleting US fuel inventories, especially in heating oil stocks due to the extreme weather conditions during the winter season in the Northern Hemisphere. By February 2003, the war premium peaked as NYMEX (New York Mercantile Exchange trading US West Texas Intermediate crude oil) monthly average crude oil futures price reached US$35.8 a barrel compared to US$20.8 a barrel in February World oil prices softened in March 2003, as investment hedge funds disinvested from crude Movements in World Oil Prices (Monthly Average) (US$ per barrel) IPE Brent Oil NYMEX Oil Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun July to June Note: (i) IPE is the International Petroleum Exchange in London, trading benchmark North Sea Brent Crude. (ii) NYMEX is the New York Mercantile Exchange, trading WTI (West Texas Intermediate) US crude. 97

2 International Oil Prices: Annual Report oil markets in anticipation that the military intervention in Iraq was going to be prompt. The market perception shifted towards the view that the war would be contained without any collateral impact on oil flows from the Middle East as a whole, which is the supplier of 40 per cent of the world s oil exports. As the war materialised on 20 March 2003, the oil market experienced profit-taking, which subsequently wiped off most of the previous gains, and the war premium component eroded. During the second quarter of 2003, the Iraqi oil industry was still plagued by technical problems related to deteriorated oil infrastructure, sabotage and looting of key oil, electricity and water infrastructure in random attacks across Iraq. Energy economists estimated that US$40 billion of investment over the next five years was required just to bring production to pre-war levels of around 2.5 million barrels per day. Approximately US$30 billion to US$35 billion was required to develop existing but unproduced fields, and rejuvenate older fields, along with an estimated US$4 billion to US$5 billion needed to repair damaged fields, and US$2 billion to US$3 billion for new export facilities. Iraqi crude oil output and export levels, net of domestic consumption, are crucial to the world oil demand-supply balance, and, hence, have major geopolitical and geostrategic implications for the power and influence of OPEC on the world economy. Iraqi oil production stood within the 700,000 to 750,000 barrels per day range during the second quarter of 2003 (in the post-iraqi war period), and given Iraq s domestic oil consumption requirements of 500,000 barrels per day, Iraq was struggling to reach 1.0 to 1.2 million barrels per day to accommodate export levels of around 750,000 barrels per day. It was expected that OPEC might not need to lower its crude output ceiling and quotas so as to make room for Iraq until the fourth quarter of Following delays in Iraq s output reaching its pre-war level, low US stocks for the first six months of 2003 and futures prices in the upper end of the OPEC basket price range of US$22 to US$28, OPEC maintained its output level of 25.4 million barrels per day until its Movements in Futures Oil Prices: US$ per barrel Per cent Jul-02 Jul-2002 Aug-02 Aug-2002 Sep-02 Sep-2002 Oct-02 Oct-2002 Nov-02 Nov-2002 Dec-02 Dec-2002 emergency meeting of 31 July 2003 in Vienna. The continued state of lawlessness in Iraq was expected to delay the resumption of significant oil volumes well into the third quarter of 2003, and beyond. The target of restoring Iraqi oil output to 1.5 million barrels per day by the end of July 2003, and that of re-establishing the prewar production capacity of 2.5 million barrels per day by the end of 2003, appeared increasingly remote. Another factor supporting crude oil prices was the level of US crude oil stocks, which had remained relatively low in the first six months of 2003, despite record import levels of around 10 million barrels per day. The low crude oil stocks level was accounted for by the fact that crude oil imports were immediately converted into refined products. Additionally, when crude oil import levels were soaring, refinery output was at a 96 per cent capacity while crude oil stocks were the last to be replenished. The US summer driving season was expected to trigger a peak in the US gasoline demand, and pressurise oil prices as from June Jan-2003 NYMEX WTI IPE Brent Note: US$22-US$28 is the price range for the OPEC basket of seven crudes. Jan-03 Feb-03 Feb-2003 Mar-03 Mar-2003 Apr-03 Apr-2003 May-03 May-2003 Jun-03 Jun

3 Annual Report International Oil Prices: The chart above shows the movement in oil prices for the period July 2002 through June By April 2003, NYMEX monthly average crude oil price stood at US$26.7 a barrel, almost at par with the April 2002 NYMEX monthly average price of US$26.3 a barrel. Crude oil futures were still edging near the upper end of the OPEC basket price of seven crudes at US$28 a barrel on average in May 2003 and extended beyond the OPEC basket price corridor of US$22-US$28 a barrel in June 2003, when NYMEX oil futures averaged US$30.5 a barrel. It is noteworthy that during fiscal year , NYMEX monthly average crude oil price only kept within the OPEC basket price range on three occasions, namely, in July 2002, November 2002 and April For fiscal year , NYMEX averaged US$29.7 a barrel compared to US$23.7 a barrel in The IPE Brent averaged US$27.4 a barrel in fiscal year compared to US$22.8 a barrel in The price of OPEC s basket of seven crudes averaged US$30.5 a barrel for the first quarter of 2003, US$25.85 a barrel for the second quarter of 2003 and US$27.8 a barrel for fiscal year The OPEC basket annual average price for 2001 and 2002 stood at US$23.1 a barrel and US$24.4 a barrel, respectively. Global oil demand grew by only 0.5 per cent in 2002, driven mainly by the recovery in North America, and the increase in demand in China and in several other East Asian countries. Global oil demand growth of 1.4 per cent (equivalent to an additional 100,000 barrels per day) to 1.0 million barrels per day, was forecast for This increase was attributed to the unusually cold weather in early 2003, inclusive of an additional 100,000 barrels per day, which were required as a result of lost nuclear generating capacity in Japan. Crude oil demand exceeded supply by around 0.1 million barrels per day in 2001 and 0.7 million barrels per day in In the first quarter of 2003, oil demand exceeded supply by 0.5 million barrels per day in contrast to a shortfall of 1.7 million barrels per day in the second quarter of As US crude oil stocks rose towards a normal level of tolerance, OPEC was expected to react either by foregoing market share, or by accommodating a lower price range. It was estimated that even if Iraq managed to produce a relatively bullish 2.1 million barrels per day in the fourth quarter of 2003, OPEC would be expected to cut its output to 24 million barrels per day from its June 2003 level of 25.4 million barrels per day to stabilise prices around the OPEC basket of seven crudes mid-range price of US$25 per barrel. Non-OPEC oil production was 47.7 million barrels per day in 2002 compared to 47.0 million barrels per day in 2001, and has been estimated to remain at around 49.0 million barrels per day in Russia, being a leading independent producer and exporter, plans to boost output and win a bigger market share in the long run, but favours price stability in the short term, to avert sharp price fluctuations which may hinder prospects for the world s economic stability. Developments during fiscal year clearly illustrated the incidence of geopolitical uncertainties in oil producing regions on the world s oil demand-supply balance, and, the ensuing heightened volatility in world crude oil prices arising out of security of supply considerations for major world economies, namely, for the largest oil consuming economy globally, the US. 99

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