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Oil could plummet to the $60s if a recession hits, Citi speculates


Oil remains firmly above $100 per barrel despite pulling back from recent highs, but Citi believes it could fall to the $60 range by the end of 2022 should a recession take hold. “In a recession scenario with rising unemployment, household and corporate bankruptcies, commodities would chase a falling cost curve as costs deflate and margins turn negative to drive,” the firm said Tuesday in a note to clients. Citi added that demand declines would lead to surpluses developing, which “require prices to fall until supply is curtailed, falling below production costs to restore equilibrium.” West Texas Intermediate , the U.S. oil benchmark, fell about 6% to around $102.19 per barrel Tuesday. International benchmark Brent crude traded at $105.74 per barrel, for a loss of 6.8%. Both spiked above $130 per barrel in March as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine prompted fears of supply shortages while demand remained strong. Western nations have sanctioned Russian energy, which has disrupted global oil flows. For the time being, however, Russia is still finding buyers for its oil, particularly from India and China. While supply concerns were a primary driver of oil’s ascent for months, more recently recessionary fears have taken hold. WTI ended June in the red, for its first negative month in seven as traders bet an economic slowdown would sap demand. “For oil in particular, the historical evidence suggests that global oil demand only turns negative in the worst global recessions,” Citi said. “Yet lower demand growth and persistent supply availability results in commodities prices falling in most recessions and in some cases to roughly the marginal cost,” the firm added. Ultimately, the firm sees Brent falling to $65 per barrel by the end of 2022 should a recession take hold. In 2023 the contract could potentially hit $45, Citi said. The firm noted that while a recession is becoming “increasingly likely,” its U.S. economists do not expect the U.S. to dip into a recession. Ed Morse, Citi’s global head of commodity research, has been virtually a lone bear on energy commodities across Wall Street. Goldman Sachs, meantime, forecasts oil reaching $140 this summer based on tight supply. –CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed reporting.

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