The drop in oil prices is just an act being put on by speculators, Saudi Arabia’s energy chief said.
“It’s not weak,” Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said. “People are pretending it’s weak. It’s all a ploy.”
Saudi Arabia has vowed to slash crude production by 1 million barrels a day through the end of the year.
Oil demand isn’t weak, and the pullback in oil prices is just an act being put on by speculators, according to Saudi Arabia’s energy minister.
Brent crude, the international benchmark, has slumped 17% from a recent peak in September, trading around $81 a barrel on Friday.
“It’s not weak,” Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said at a press conference in Saudi Arabia on Thursday, per Bloomberg’s report. “People are pretending it’s weak. It’s all a ploy.”
He added that market participants may be confusing higher oil exports from the Middle East in recent months with rising oil production.
Shipments are seasonal and tend to rise in September in October, though that doesn’t necessarily mean there’s more output, the energy chief explained.
“It’s an abuse of numbers,” he said.
Saudi Arabia, the de-facto leader of the OPEC+ cartel, has been slashing its crude production aggressively to buoy prices, which top officials have previously complained are being affected by market distortions.
In addition to cuts from OPEC, Saudi Arabia has issued its own voluntary production cut of 1 million barrels a day that will be extended through the end of this year.
That briefly caused crude to soar close to $100 a barrel in September, though oil prices have eased in recent weeks on account of mixed demand outlook from China and higher interest rates among global central banks, which can weigh on economic growth and hinder demand.
Some industry forecasts, though, are bullish on oil over the long-run, due to underinvestment and the potential for under-supply. Oil prices could soar as high as $150 a barrel, according to one top shale executive.
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