Energy prices are caught in a high-stakes game of tug-of-war
Oh, we’re sorry. Were you just getting comfortable with falling gas prices? It’d be a shame if something changed that…
A high-stakes game of tug-of-war could leave you with increased energy costs.
Here’s who we have on both ends:
- Player 1: China (the world’s larger oil importer) reopening its economy could send oil demand up — and energy prices with it.
- Player 2: A global recession threatens to tank oil demand — sending energy prices down.
For consumers, the stakes couldn’t be higher. Crude oil prices have fallen over 30% from their near-record highs last year. But don’t get used to lower gas costs, 2023 is looking like another volatile year for energy rates.
What’s the deciding factor? The direction of energy prices depends on the “shape and speed” of China’s recovery, per the International Energy Agency (IEA).
- The IEA warned that global oil demand could reach an all-time high in 2023 — pushing energy prices up with it.
- The CEO of Aramco (which pumps 10% of the world’s oil) thinks “there will be an issue in meeting the growing demand” as China reopens.
Now let’s toss Russia into the game. The EU ban on Russian imports is going into full effect starting Feb. 5 – which could flip the energy balance from “well-supplied” into a “tighter” market, per the IEA.