Fuel Conflicts Are Increasingly Risky, Global Markets Remain Volatile


Disruptions to the world's main trade routes, refinery shutdowns and renewed demand are pushing up global fuel prices and making forecasts difficult ahead of a US presidential election where inflation is a hot topic.

Increases in the two most widely used fuels outpaced crude oil in some of the world's most important markets. US gasoline futures have surged sharply in recent weeks.

Conflict disruptions in the Middle East and Russia-Ukraine continue to be the main cause of fuel price increases. The Houthi attacks in the Red Sea and the drought in the Panama Canal continue to drive up shipping costs that have a global impact.

Projects of more than a million barrels per day are expected to experience delays due to the conflicts.

The various moving parts make it difficult to predict how much fuel will be available in a year when global oil demand is expected to break another record.

In addition, sanctions on Russian oil, increased US shale production, OPEC+ cuts and changes to global trade flows caused by ships bypassing the Suez Canal route due to Houthi attacks all impacted fuel production.

For the global gasoline market, one of the biggest question marks is the availability of octane-enhancing components used to make the fuel, especially with the US summer driving season approaching.

The oil product margin is expected to be lower than the previous year but it is still above historical levels. This is due to new plants taking time to come online and inefficiencies in refining created by the rerouting of Russian crude and petroleum products.