Asia to Drive Oil Prices in the Future

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Brent crude oil traded at $110.96 at 8:55 GMT on Thursday morning as investors waited for the European Central Bank meeting to come to a close. The commodity has suffered massive losses from its $119 high earlier in the year as global economic data began to paint a troubling picture of future demand for oil.

However, according to the Wall Street Journal, a report published on Wednesday showed that Asian demand will steer oil prices in the future. Just this week, the US Department of Energy stated that China had overtaken the US as the largest importer of oil, supporting the claim that Asian demand will be a key factor for oil prices.

The report claims that if demand and supply continue at their estimated pace, by 2020 oil prices could reach as high as $150 to $270 per barrel. This prediction, although plausible, doesn't account for the change in consumer behavior that would follow such a large price increase, such as a reduction in travel due to its high cost.

At the moment, Brent prices depend heavily on the results of the ECB meeting and new economic data due at the end of the week. At a press conference following the ECB meeting, bank President Mario Draghi is expected to give the bank's outlook on the region's economy following several days of poor data.

Chinese trade data for February is due out on Friday and is expected to have a large impact on oil prices. Chinese exports and imports are expected to grow, but the most important piece of data will be crude demand figures which, if positive, could give Brent prices a boost.

 
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