In oil markets, it’s back to 1998 crisis pricing

Brent oil futures may be trading at $27 per barrel but oil producers are selling their crude in the physical market at lower prices not seen since the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s.

Most are offloading their oil for below $20 a barrel as the coronavirus pandemic savages demand and global supply rises amid a battle between Saudi Arabia and Russia for market share, according to traders, state oil firms, major refiners and prices quoted in physical markets.

While some crude grades typically sell at a discount to Brent, the market environment is making that gap even wider and other grades that usually cost more than the European benchmark are now cheaper for the most time ever.

The discounting is leaving revenue per barrel at a fraction of the prices factored into many 2020 budgets, which is likely to put even more pressure on government finances in some oil producing countries.

Last updated on Sun. March 29, 2020.

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