April 13, 2018 / 6:24 AM / 14 days ago

Goldman expects sanctions to keep aluminium prices high, sees oil hitting $72

(Reuters) - Aluminium prices are expected to remain high and volatile until June because of sanctions on Russia’s Rusal, while tensions in the Middle East are likely to push oil prices to $72 a barrel, Goldman Sachs said on Thursday.

Aluminium ingots are seen stored at the foundry shop of the Rusal Krasnoyarsk aluminium smelter in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, July 27, 2016. REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin/Files

The bank reinforced its “overweight” view on commodities, with a forecast return of 10 percent over the next 12 months.

“With low cross-asset correlations, increasing inflationary risks, a positive carry and the potential for oil supply disruptions in the Middle East, the strategic case for owning commodities has rarely been stronger,” analysts at the investment bank said in a note.

However, the bank does not expect direct impact on the global oil market from last week’s U.S. sanctions directed at Russian oligarchs and companies. Among them are aluminium tycoon Oleg Deripaska, a close associate of President Vladimir Putin.

London aluminium was on track for its biggest weekly gain on record after the United States imposed sanctions on Deripaska-owned UC Rusal, the world’s second-biggest producer of the metal.

Meanwhile, the potential reintroduction of sanctions on Iran was unlikely to have an immediate impact on the oil market, Goldman said.

A worker controls forming of aluminium ingots on a conveyor belt at the foundry shop of the Rusal Krasnoyarsk aluminium smelter in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, Russia November 9, 2017. REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin/Files

U.S. President Donald Trump has given European signatories a May 12 deadline to “fix the terrible flaws” of a 2015 nuclear deal or he will refuse to extend U.S. sanctions relief on Iran.

“Without the support of other countries, it appears unlikely that production would fall much, and we expect that several hundred thousand barrels of Iranian exports would be initially at risk,” the bank said

Potential losses from Iranian production were likely to support oil prices by $7 a barrel, it added.

“However, geopolitical threats have also continued to escalate for oil, in Yemen, Syria and Iran, driving a large part of the $5 per barrel rise in oil prices over the past week,” Goldman said.

A general view of an oil dock is seen from a ship at the port of Kalantari in the city of Chabahar, 300 km (186 miles) east of the Strait of Hormuz, Iran January 17, 2012. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi/Files

“With low and declining inventories, the market remains vulnerable to even small disruptions.”

Oil prices edged lower on Friday after President Trump tempered remarks warning of an imminent missile attack on Syria but were still set for their biggest weekly gains in more than eight months.

Reporting by Eileen Soreng and Arpan Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by David Goodman

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