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May 28, 2020

Fitch Solutions predicts 50% drop in oil prices due to Covid-19

By JP Casey

Analyst Fitch Solutions yesterday held a webinar looking into the economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and predicted difficult times ahead for the oil and gas industry.

The group estimates oil prices to fall by around 50% compared to last year, the most dramatic decline amidst a number of falling commodity prices, including copper, coal and iron. This trend is set to have the most pronounced impact on countries whose economies are heavily reliant on oil production, with Angola estimated to lose a quarter of its GDP as a result of declining oil prices and exports; the country relies on oil and gas for 37% of its GDP, 75% of government revenues and 90% of its exports, so is set to be hit particularly hard by the pandemic.

This trend is replicated across a number of current and former OPEC members, with contractions of 24% for Iraq and around 15% for Qatar and Saudi Arabia, as the price drops hit the global oil industry. However, there were some positives, with webinar host John Ashbourne noting that a few countries will actually see GDP grow in response to the crisis, even if these gains are relatively limited.

“There are oil importers,” he said, “which will now spend less money than they otherwise would have for their oil, and so will save some money.

“The numbers are a lot smaller [than the losses],” he conceded. “The country with the most positive [outcome], which is Thailand, is gaining about 3% of GDP in savings, which is very small compared to the fall in countries like Kuwait and Qatar.”

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