Traders, funds bullish on oil price despite banking woes
LAUSANNE, Switzerland/LONDON March 21 (Reuters) - The biggest oil traders and energy hedge funds speaking at the FT Commodities Global Summit struck a bullish tone despite banking jitters, and see a jump in oil prices by the year end.
Pierre Andurand, founder of hedgefund Andurand Capital, was the most bullish and saw a potential Brent oil price of $140 a barrel by the end of the year.
He said the current oil price downturn was speculative and not based on fundamentals.
Oil prices rose for a second day on Tuesday after slumping to 15-month lows as a crisis at Switzerland's second-biggest bank Credit Suisse, which followed the collapse of two U.S. lenders, led to a takeover by bigger Swiss rival UBS.
Brent crude traded at just below $75 a barrel by 1619 GMT.
Trafigura's co-head of oil trading, Ben Luckock, expects oil to be in the $80s a barrel by the summer but emphasised long-term volatility owing to uncertainty over investments in new projects to meet new oil demand and counter declining oilfields.
"No one is doing 15-year (projects in) deep water fields off Angola anymore," Luckock said.
Similarly, the commodities heads at hedgefund Citadel and at Goldman Sachs said capital available for energy or commodity investments would be tight, lending further support to oil prices.
The CEO of energy trader Mercuria pointed to uncertainty in demand growth forecasts impacting oil investments.
"If you have this level of unpredictability (in peak demand) then you lower investments then it'll push oil to the upside," Mercuria's Marco Dunand said.
Gunvor CEO Torbjorn Tornqvist said he expected oil prices to move higher towards the end of the year as rising Chinese demand tightens oil balances further. But he added that he wasn't seeing oil demand growth coming from elsewhere.
The commodities trader's co-head of trading Stephane Degenne did not expect to see oil go above $100 a barrel at the year end.
In its latest monthly report, the International Energy Agency said it expected China to account for about half of the 2 million barrel per day oil demand growth it forecast for 2023 as the world's biggest oil importer continues to ease its COVID-19 restrictions.
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