(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia and Russia reaffirmed that they will stick with oil supply curbs of more than 1 million barrels a day until the end of the year as a rally in prices falters.
The leaders of the OPEC+ coalition announced the plans in separate official statements on Wednesday. Riyadh has slashed crude production by 1 million barrels a day, and Moscow is curbing exports by 300,000 a day, on top of earlier cuts made with fellow OPEC+ nations.
Oil prices surged to almost $100 a barrel in London last week as the two nations choked supplies just as global demand hits a record, draining inventories at the fastest pace in years.
But the rally has since cooled, with Brent futures retreating to near $89 on Wednesday amid signs that the price spike is encouraging the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates higher for longer. JPMorgan Chase & Co. says “demand destruction has begun” as fuel costs squeeze consumers.
“Market attention has shifted from the focus on the short-term tightness to the implications of interest rates staying higher for longer” and “the subdued macro environment that entails,” said Callum Macpherson, head of commodities at Investec.
The two oil allies reaffirmed their plans with identical wording in separate statements, released first on the Saudi Press Agency and then shortly after by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak.
The output curbs are intended “to reinforce the precautionary efforts made by OPEC+ countries with the aim of supporting the stability and balance of oil markets,” they said.
READ: Can Oil Demand Weather the $100-a-Barrel Impact?: Javier Blas
Yet OPEC’s own data indicate the measures will leave global markets severely short this quarter, potentially draining inventories by more than 3 million barrels a day — the fastest pace in years.
High prices stand to benefit Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as his kingdom splashes out on everything from futuristic cities and international telecommunications deals to top-flight footballers and golfers. They are also a critical source of extra revenue for President Vladimir Putin as his country wages war on Ukraine.
That’s inflicting pain on consumers.
Indian Oil Minister Hardeep Puri told Bloomberg TV on Tuesday that oil prices need to fall to levels of around $80 a barrel to be good for the economy. The world’s third biggest oil user is continually telling producing nations that crude is too costly, an official told the Adipec energy conference in Abu Dhabi the previous day.
Meanwhile, US policymakers have signaled that monetary policy may need to remain tight. Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland President Loretta Mester said the US will likely need to raise rates once more this year, and that rising gas prices resonate strongly with consumers.
A monitoring meeting among key nations from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its partners on Wednesday didn’t make any recommendations to change policy. Most members, their production hobbled by underinvestment and disruptions, have been unable to join in the Saudi-Russia action, limiting the group’s scope for collective action.
“The committee will continue to closely assess market conditions,” according to a statement on OPEC’s website. The group is “ready to take additional measures at any time.”
Riyadh and Moscow have said they will review their extra curbs each month. If they push prices above $100 a barrel, the conversation may turn to whether the kingdom would intervene to stop the market over-shooting. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. expects Saudi Arabia to restore supplies to prevent prices climbing far beyond $105 a barrel, in case that erodes consumption.
The full 23-nation OPEC+ coalition will hold a ministerial meeting on Nov. 26 to review policy for 2024.
--With assistance from Nayla Razzouk and Ben Bartenstein.
(Updates analyst comment in fifth paragraph, monitoring meeting in 13th.)
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.