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石油需求减少 油价跌势加剧

发布者: shunitang | 发布时间: 2008-10-20 13:47| 查看数: 916| 评论数: 1|帖子模式

Oil's Slide Deepens

2008年10月17日

Signs that an enfeebled U.S. economy is using less and less oil sent world crude prices below $70 a barrel for the first time in 14 months, a dramatic turnaround for a market that not long ago had some analysts predicting $200-a-barrel oil as early as next year.

The sharp drop in U.S. oil demand -- down in recent weeks by about 9% from a year ago -- shows how deep the economic malaise is across much of the industrialized world now. As the U.S. unemployment rate rises and retail sales and manufacturing orders slump, the world's largest consumer of oil needs less crude to move goods, fly passenger jets, and transport workers to the office.

Increasing gloom over the health of the world economy has helped to shove down oil prices at a dizzying rate since the summer. U.S. benchmark crude on Thursday fell to less than half of its record high, set just three months ago, of $147 a barrel. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude for November delivery fell $4.69, or 6.3%, to $69.85.

Rattled by the swift price drop and evidence of plunging demand, members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries hastily agreed Thursday to meet next week in Vienna to weigh a production cut, in a bid to firm up prices. The cartel, supplier of nearly 40% of the world's oil, had planned to hold an emergency session in mid-November, but the plunge in prices has spread alarm among countries like Nigeria and Venezuela that have grown heavily dependent on rising crude revenues.

Oil's fall helped drive stocks higher after an initial fall, as stock investors bet the lower price will give consumers more money to spend and cut the costs of fuel-dependent firms. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up 401.35 points, or 4.68%, at 8979.26. Airline stocks rallied with the price drop, along with planned capacity cuts, making it more likely carriers may be profitable next year. In addition, consumer-price inflation continues to ease, the latest data show, reflecting the plunge.

Many analysts were predicting just weeks ago that oil would average around $105 a barrel next year. Many local governments and companies have used a similar figure when budgeting for next year. So, while the price plunge is likely a reflection of the country in recession, if the price stabilizes at around $80 a barrel, as many now expect, 'that will amount to essentially a $275 billion stimulus package to the U.S. economy,' says Lawrence Goldstein, an analyst with the Energy Policy Research Foundation.

Oil at $80 a barrel would put gasoline prices nationwide at about $3 a gallon.

Oil's drop has been exacerbated by financial-market forces beyond falling demand. Hedge funds, responsible for a large amount of the speculation in crude oil, have had to play defense in the credit crisis lately by unwinding trades that use a lot of borrowed money, such as oil futures bets. Hedge funds are also being hit by heavy redemptions as risk-averse investors cash out. This forces funds to sell at inopportune times, adding to the spiral.

Events over the past three months have stunned oil analysts almost as much as bankers and stockbrokers. For the first time since the last U.S. recession in 1991-92, world oil demand this year could end up being essentially flat, despite robust growth in Asia and the Middle East, a development few predicted even six months ago.

Many private forecasters went into the year predicting that world oil demand would jump by around 1.3 million barrels a day in 2008. As prices soared in the spring, Goldman Sachs went so far as to predict that robust demand and crimped supply could send prices to more than $200 a barrel by next year.

But events in the U.S. changed all that. The U.S. over the four weeks before Oct. 10 consumed around 18.6 million barrels of oil a day, a drop of 1.8 million barrels, or nearly 9%, over the year-earlier period. Many analysts predict the U.S. may shave off an additional half-million barrels a day in 2009, which would put U.S. consumption about where it was in the mid-1990s. The world this year is consuming around 86.3 million barrels a day, up only 200,000 barrels a day over 2007.

Jeffrey Currie, Goldman's head of commodity research, said it was the credit crunch and its impact on the U.S. economy -- more even than soaring prices this summer -- that have so sharply eaten into demand. Gasoline purchases have fallen more so far this month than they did in July, when prices were at records.

'The credit issues have had a severe impact on economic activity and especially on the oil industry,' he said. 'If this was all just about pump prices, the cratering would have been much more severe in July than in October. But it's been the other way around.'

Falling oil prices offer a rare flash of good news for the U.S. economy. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke cited falling energy costs as one force driving down inflation. Consumer prices held firm last month, making it easier for the Fed to cut interest rates again, if it chooses, in a bid to rev up the economy.

Still, all signs suggest that the troubled economy will continue to dwarf the fall in pump prices as hard-pressed consumers continue to cut back. 'What is happening now is that the economic slowdown is trumping the downturn in prices,' says Tancred Lidderdale, a petroleum-supply expert at the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

U.S. commuters and companies began sharply paring fuel purchases this year as pump prices soared to over $4.10 a gallon nationwide by July. The cuts were most dramatic in California, where diesel sales fell 9% in the second quarter over the year before. California gasoline sales in June were off 7.5% from June 2007.

'Numbers like that are close to being a collapse in demand,' says Aaron Brady, an analyst for Cambridge Energy Research Associates.

But even as gasoline prices are now heading back toward $3 a gallon, and below, in most states, analysts expect demand to keep falling. MasterCard said that by its estimates gasoline sales in the week of Oct. 10 dropped 9.4% from a year ago.

The reasons for the continued slide are varied.

About 35% of all miles driven are work-related, so the higher the unemployment, the fewer miles driven. September saw the biggest job losses in five years, and the jobless rate, now at 6.1%, is all but certain to rise.

There are also clear signs of a serious retraction in the U.S. manufacturing sector, which will in turn put a squeeze on fuel use. Toyota Motor Corp., which produces many of the world's most fuel-efficient cars, cut its global production in August by 17%, as exports of all Japanese cars to the U.S. fell by 30%.

Cuts in government spending have also sent asphalt use sharply downward as cities and states delay road projects. Jet-fuel demand is also falling.

Some economists are now wondering if the sharp declines in oil use earlier this year, when the U.S. economy was officially growing, weren't actually a harbinger of a looming recession.

'The second shoe is now dropping,' said Adam Siemenski, chief energy economist at Deutsche Bank. 'First it was high prices and a bad economy. Now it is all bad economy.'

The big question now is to what extent oil-demand growth in China and the Middle East can continue to outpace the slump in the industrialized world. Analysts still say that oil demand will rise next year, by as much as 500,000 barrels a day. OPEC agrees, and looks likely to trim at least one million barrels a day from its production going into 2009 to avoid oversupply.

Yet falling prices, in the long run, may not be all good news. The credit crunch and gyrating oil prices have sent a chill through many segments of the oil industry. Delayed or shelved exploration projects from offshore West Africa to the Canadian oil sands could lead to a supply crimp in the next few years if and when demand comes roaring back.

Neil King Jr.

最新评论

shunitang 发表于 2008-10-20 13:48:29
石油需求减少 油价跌势加剧

有迹象表明,在柔弱无力的经济面前,美国的石油消耗量正逐渐减少,受此影响,原油价格14个月以来首次跌破每桶70美元。对于这个不久前还有分析师预测油价最早将于明年达到每桶200美元的市场来说,这真可谓是一次戏剧性的转变。

Reuters

周四华盛顿特区的汽油价格已经回落至3美元

美国最近几周的石油需求较上年同期减少了约9%,美国石油需求的这种大幅下滑反映出这场波及大部分工业世界的经济病症眼下是何等严重。随着美国失业率上升、零售额及制造业订单大幅减少,美国这个全球石油头号消耗国在商品运输、客运航班以及消费者驾车上班方面的石油需求量将随之减少。

自今夏以来,笼罩在世界经济周围的日益浓厚的阴云推动油价以令人目眩的速度下滑。美国基准原油价格周四较其三个月前才创下的每桶147美元的历史高位下跌超过一半。纽约商交所十一月轻质低硫原油期货结算价周四跌4.69美元,至每桶69.85美元,跌幅6.3%。

油价下跌速度之快以及需求大幅减少的迹象令石油输出国组织(简称:欧佩克)的成员倍感不安,他们周四匆忙决定下周在维也纳召开会议,商讨是否为稳定油价进行减产。这个提供全球近40%石油量的组织原本计划11月中旬召开紧急会议,但油价遭受重创加剧了尼日利亚、委内瑞拉等国的紧张情绪,这些国家如今正变得严重倚赖不断增加的原油收入。



Bloomberg News/Landov

这是7月份时的价格

油价下跌也从某种程度上帮助股市止跌回升,因为股市投资者相信油价走低会使消费者有更多资金用于其他消费,同时也能帮助那些依赖燃料的企业缩减成本。道琼斯工业股票平均价格指数周四收涨401.35点,至8979.26点,涨幅4.68%。航空类股在油价走低以及运力削减计划的提振下大幅飙升,进而增加了航空公司明年实现盈利的可能性。此外最新数据显示,消费者价格指数继续下降,这也反映出油价走低的影响。

多数分析师几周前还预测明年的油价平均将在每桶105美元左右。许多地方政府和企业在规划明年的预算时也参考了类似数据。因此,虽说油价下跌或许是一个国家经济陷入衰退的反映,但如果油价像许多人目前预测的那样持稳于每桶80美元上下,这将相当于为美国经济提供了2,750亿美元的刺激方案,Energy Policy Research Foundation的分析师戈德斯泰恩(Lawrence Goldstein)说。

而每桶80美元的油价将把全美汽油均价推低至每加仑3美元左右。

需求减少之外的金融市场力量加剧了油价的下滑。从事大量原油投机交易的对冲基金为了在信贷危机中自卫,近日解除了使用大量借入资金的交易头寸,比如石油期货头寸。而避险意识浓厚的投资者纷纷赎回基金也给对冲基金造成了打击。这促使对冲基金在不适当的时机进行抛售,从而加剧了油价的下跌。

过去三个月发生的一系列事件令石油分析师瞠目结舌,就好像银行家和证券经纪人的感受一样。自1991-92年美国上一次步入衰退以来,全球石油需求今年可能头一次出现大体持平的状况,尽管亚洲和中东增长强劲。这种情况即便在六个月之前也是很少有人预料到的。

多数私人预测者在今年年初时都预计,2008年世界石油日需求将增加约130万桶。随着春季油价的飙升,高盛(Goldman Sachs)预测旺盛的需求加上疲软的供应明年将把油价推至每桶200美元以上。

不过美国的状况改变了这一切。10月10日前的四周,美国的石油日消耗量约为1,860万桶,较上年同期减少了180万桶,降幅近9%。许多分析师预计美国明年的石油日消耗量可能会再减少50万桶,降至其上世纪九十年代中期的水平。而就世界范围来看,今年全球的石油日消耗量大约为8,630万桶,仅较去年增加了20万桶。

高盛大宗商品研究负责人居里(Jeffrey Currie)说,造成需求大幅减少的原因是信贷危机以及它对美国经济的影响,这两个因素的作用甚至超过了今夏油价飙升给需求带来的抑制性影响。汽油销量本月迄今的下滑幅度超过了7月份汽油价格处于纪录高位时创下的降幅。

他谈到,信贷问题对经济活动、尤其是石油行业产生了严重影响;如果这一切仅仅是汽油价格的问题,那么7月份的销售状况应该比10月份时更糟糕,可事实却是完全两样。

持续下跌的油价为美国经济带来了一条难得的好消息。美国联邦储备委员会(Fed)主席贝南克(Ben Bernanke)认为不断下滑的能源价格是推低通货膨胀的因素之一。美国9月份消费者价格指数表现稳定,如果Fed决意为刺激经济再次减息的话,这种通胀水平也使它做出这种决定时更容易。

然而眼下所有迹象都表明,由于手头拮据的消费者纷纷捂紧口袋,汽油价格下跌在不景气的经济面前将继续扮演微不足道的作用。美国能源情报署(Energy Information Administration)研究石油供应的专家林德戴尔(Tancred Lidderdale)说,现在的情况是经济减速的效应超过了油价下跌的影响。

美国驾车一族和企业今年开始大幅减少燃料开支,到7月份时,全美汽油平均价格已大幅攀升至超过每加仑4.10美元。其中,加利福尼亚州的缩减开支状况最为明显,那里第二季度的柴油销量较上年同期减少了9%。此外,加州6月份的汽油销量也比去年同期下滑了7.5%。

Cambridge Energy Research Associates的分析师布兰迪(Aaron Brady)说,类似这样的数据几乎相当于需求出现崩溃。

可是即便美国许多州的汽油价格正逐渐跌回、甚至跌破每加仑3美元,分析师仍然预计需求将继续下滑。信用卡公司MasterCard称,根据它的估计,10月10日当周的汽油销量较上年同期减少了9.4%。

造成这种持续下滑的原因有很多。

美国约35%的驾程都是与工作相关的,也就是说失业率越高,驾车活动就越少。9月份的失业人数达到了五年来的最高水平,目前6.1%的失业率无疑也将上升。

美国制造业也清晰地显露出严重收缩的迹象,这反过来又将给燃料销量带来进一步压力。全球节油性汽车的生产大户丰田汽车公司(Toyota),将其8月份全球产量削减了17%。所有日本汽车对美出口减少了30%。

随着美国政府缩减开支,各州、市政府推迟公路建设项目,沥青的使用也经历了大幅下滑。飞机燃油需求也有所减少。

一些经济学家如今想搞清楚当美国经济今年年初按照官方说法仍在增长的时候,那时石油销售的大幅下滑是否实际上是衰退隐现的征兆。

德意志银行(Deutsche Bank)首席能源经济学家西门斯基(Adam Siemenski)指出,第二只鞋正在掉下;最初产生影响的是高企的油价和糟糕的经济,而今所有的问题都出在糟糕的经济上。

目前的一大问题在于,中国及中东的石油需求增长会在多大程度上继续抵销工业国家萎靡不振的影响。分析师依然认为明年的石油需求将有所增长,日均增长50万桶。为避免供应过剩,欧佩克同意、并且看起来也可能会将明年的日产量至少缩减100万桶。

不过从长远来看,油价持续走低或许也不全是好事。信贷危机和油价起伏使石油行业的许多领域都感到了一丝寒意。当市场需求卷土重来之时,西非海岸、加拿大油砂等开采项目的一度推迟和搁置也许会成为今后几年限制石油供应的一道软肋。

[ 本帖最后由 shunitang 于 2008-10-20 13:50 编辑 ]
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