(Photo Credit: Reuters)
Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, announced it would raise prices for markets in Europe and Asia in April. This comes after the country unexpectedly increased prices in February by $2 for European buyers and $0.20 for Asian buyers.
The recent price hike reported by TASS on 5 March represents a $0.50 increase from March. Meanwhile, prices are also set to increase for its Mediterranean buyers by $0.30, according to the news agency.
Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser cited the growing demand for energy in China last week as part of the reason for the price increase.
China’s outgoing premier, Li Keqiang, announced that the country is targeting economic growth of 5 percent in 2023 after ending its zero-COVID policy.
China’s economy grew by just 3 percent in 2022, which led to a decline in the global energy demand.
“This year, it is essential to prioritize economic stability and pursue progress while ensuring stability. Policies should be kept consistent and targeted, and they should be carried out in a more coordinated way to create synergy for high-quality development,” Li Keqiang said at the opening ceremony of the National People’s Congress.
On 4 February, Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, disclosed that Riyadh is cautious about increasing oil production due to a shortage in energy supplies accredited to an economic embargo targeting the Russian energy market and underinvestment in the energy industry.
Since the start of the global energy supply crisis, Washington urged Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states to use their influence and curb global production. However, in October, Saudi Arabia put its weight behind a 2 million barrels per day (bpd) production cut, citing fears over a global recession.
“The current cut of 2 million barrels per day by OPEC+ continues until the end of 2023, and if further action is needed by reducing production to balance supply and demand, we will always be ready to intervene,” said Saudi Arabia’s energy minister.
The move enraged US officials, who throughout 2022 pleaded with their Gulf allies to boost production levels to offset an energy crisis created by western sanctions on Russian fuel.