The value of the OPEC basket rose to a record high of $US63.84 a barrel just before Easter, reported The Australian Financial Review (18/4/2006, p.20).
Crude prices break records everywhere: North Sea Brent crude oil broke up through $US70 a barrel for the first time, the value of the Mexican crude oil basket hit a record level and the price of the AsiaPacific benchmark crude oil, Tapis crude, upon which Australian oil prices are based, hit a record $US74.60 a barrel, or a record price of more than $100 a barrel.
West Texas Intermediate reaches record highs: The widely followed US benchmark crude, West Texas Intermediate, reached new record price highs for almost every future delivery month.
Chinese demand continues to increase even as prices rise: Even though oil prices have now more than tripled in the past four years, demand continues to swell. China’s crude oil imports are accelerating, climbing 25.3 per cent in the first three months of this year from a year earlier to 37.13 million tonnes. China is the second-largest oil consumer in the world after the US. China imports 40 per cent of its crude oil needs. Over the next 15 years, the number of vehicles in China is expected to increase fivefold, helping to double China’s overall demand for oil. By 2020 China is expected to import 70 per cent of its oil needs compared with 40 per cent today.
Spare global crude oil production capacity falls: Meanwhile, spare global crude oil production capacity has fallen from more than 5 million barrels a day five years ago to about 1.5 million bpd today. The bulk of that is in Saudi Arabia.
The Australian Financial Review, 18/4/2006, p. 20
Source: Erisk Net