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"Frozen" fuel prices in the markets have decreased by approximately 20% in the last two months

"Frozen" fuel prices in the markets have decreased by approximately

Oil prices in the world markets have fallen significantly compared to the annual maximum levels they recorded between the months of September and October.

Earlier this week, Brent oil was trading near USD 78 per barrel, while at the end of September, the price of crude oil reached its highest level for 2023, at USD 96.55 per barrel. In the last two months, the price of crude oil has fallen by approximately 18%.

This general decline is also reflected in the stock market prices of the final product.

On Monday, diesel was trading on the London Stock Exchange at a price of approximately USD 793 per ton, significantly lower than the level of almost USD 1,000/t two months ago.

However, for approximately two months, the downward trend in oil prices in international markets is not being reflected at all in the retail prices of fuels in Albania. The prices of diesel and gasoline at the points of sale are practically unchanged at the level of 200 lek per liter.

Even the strengthening of the Lek in the exchange rate with the dollar during the month of November did not bring down prices. On Monday, the US dollar was exchanged at the value of 93.63 lek, down by more than 7% compared to the beginning of October, when, at the same time, diesel prices were at their highest annual levels.

Figures analyzed by the Competition Authority have shown that the fuel market has a high degree of concentration at the import and wholesale level. Until last year, the three largest companies (Kastrati, Gega Oil and Europetrol Durrës) owned about 75% of the wholesale oil market.

The last investigation of the Competition Authority in this market, which was closed in 2022, did not reveal any violation of the law "On the protection of competition". However, the complete lack of price elasticity in the fuel market in recent months creates doubts about the proper functioning of competition.

The abolition of the Board that determined the ceiling prices of fuels in June of this year does not seem to have influenced an increase in competition in this market.

Even the differences in retail prices between large, vertically integrated companies at different levels of the market and other retail outlets seem to have decreased even more.

Raiffeisen Research: Crude oil prices will decrease in the next three years

Raiffeisen Research predicts that during the next two years the supply of crude oil will gradually exceed the demand and this will lead to lower prices.

According to the latest analysis by the research unit of the Viennese banking group, the average price of Brent oil is forecast to average around $85 per barrel until the end of 2024, but due to slower demand growth it is expected to fall to 75 USD per barrel in 2025 and to 70 USD per barrel in 2026.

Until now, the largest OPEC-10 producers (Saudi Arabia, Iraq, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait) have agreed to carry out the production cuts themselves, without the cooperation of the cartel's smaller member producers.

However, if the need arises to cut output further to support prices, Raiffeisen Research believes the group of four largest producers may be less willing to bear the brunt of additional supply cuts without the commitment of all cartel members.

Raiffeisen Research expects the global oil market to move from a deficit of 0.9 million barrels per day in the first quarter of 2024 to a surplus of 0.8 million barrels per day in the second half of 2024.

Current estimates show that global demand for crude oil is approximately 102 million barrels per day, while supply is approximately 101.8 million barrels, with a deficit of approximately 0.2 million barrels per day./ Monitor 

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