By Peter Spence, London Telegraph
Recent tumbles in the value of oil on global markets have been the creation of politicians, Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, suggested on Thursday.
The Russian state has been heavily exposed to slumping oil values, widely viewed to be the result of a supply glut.
“The obvious reason for the decline in global oil prices is the slowdown in the rate of [global] economic growth which means consumption is being reduced in a whole range of countries”, Mr Putin said.
In addition to this, “a political component is always present in oil prices. Furthermore, at some moments of crisis it starts to feel like it is the politics that prevails in the pricing of energy resources”, he added.
Mr Putin also referred to a “distinct direct link” between physical oil markets and “the financial platforms where the trade is conducted”, in explaining part of oil price changes.
Since June, the value of brent crude – the benchmark which Russia’s main export blend is priced off – has dropped from its $115 a barrel peak.
Energy and energy-related production account “a substantial share of total economic output, half of the federal budget revenues and almost two-thirds of export revenues”, according to Deutsche Bank.
“Thus, lower oil prices lead to a downgrade to Russia’s growth profile for the next several years,” according to an investment note produced by the bank.
The price of the Russian flagship Urals crude blend has fallen to trade just over $80 a barrel, well below the $114 level that the state would require to balance its budget.
Forecasts released by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) imply that things could improve in long-term – as it predicts that oil prices will average $177 per barrel by 2040.
The Russian President also declared that the planned Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free-trade deal – between pacific countries including Japan and the US – was “just another US attempt to build an architecture of regional economic cooperation that the US would benefit from”.
“At the same time, I believe that the absence of two major regional players such as Russia and China in its composition will not promote the establishment of effective trade and economic cooperation”, he said.
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