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PETALING JAYA: Oil prices will remain elevated in the second half (2H) of this year and even the medium-term.Both demand and supply will increase over the next few months. Demand will be driven by the easing of restrictions in China, summer driving and recovery of jet fuel.
The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies and the United States have also decided to increase production or release reserves to fend off an acute supply deficit, said Hong Leong Investment Bank (HLIB) Research.
The research firm has forecast Brent crude oil price per barrel (bbl) at US$100 to US$110 (RM442 to RM486). Year to date, oil prices averaged at US$105/bbl (RM464/bbl).
HLIB Research said recently, European Union leaders agreed on an embargo on Russia, halting 90% of the latter’s crude imports into the 27-nation bloc, which will take full effect by the end of 2022.
“We strongly believe that the high crude oil price environment is here to stay for the medium-term,” said the research firm in a report.
It said Petronas announced that it will be increasing its capital expenditure (capex) in 2022 to RM60bil, the highest since 2015.,
The increase in capex augurs well for the local oil and gas sector, as most of the listed service providers in the oil and gas, and services and equipment space are heavily reliant on PETRONAS as a major client.
“However, we understand there is no increase in dividend commitments for 2022 of RM25bil despite expectations of improved profits amidst an elevated oil price environment,” added HLIB Research.
As for petrochemical, the research firm believes that the super-cycle will peak in the second quarter of 2022 due additional supply globally.
Besides this, the short-term supply shortage has been normalising, while it sees limited demand growth amidst high commodity prices worldwide and stagflation risks.
“With that, we are expecting a down-cycle of the petrochemical sector over the next few years, beginning in the second half of 2022,” said HLIB Research.