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2015-01-13    来源:fortune    【      美国外教 在线口语培训



This post is in partnership with Time. The article below was originally published at Time.com


As we ring in the New Year, let’s take stock of where we are at with the oil markets. 2014 proved to be a momentous one for the oil markets, having seen prices cut in half in just six months.

The big question is what oil prices will do in 2015. Oil prices are unsustainably low right now – many high-cost oil producers and oil-producing regions are currently operating in the red. That may work in the short-term, but over the medium and long-term, companies will be forced out of the market, precipitating a price rise. The big question is when they will rise, and by how much.

So, what does that mean for oil prices in 2015? It is anybody’s guess, but here are the top five variables that will determine the trajectory of oil prices over the next 12 months, in no particular order.

1. China’s Economy. China is the second largest consumer of oil in the world and surpassed the United States as the largest importer of liquid fuels in late 2013. More importantly for oil prices is how much China’s consumption will increase in the coming years. According to the EIA, China is expected burn through 3 million more barrels per day in 2020 compared to 2012, accounting for about one-quarter of global demand growth over that timeframe. Although there is much uncertainty, China just wrapped up a disappointing fourth quarter, capping off its slowest annual growth in over a quarter century. It is not at all obvious that China will be able to halt its sliding growth rate, but the trajectory of China’s economy will significantly impact oil prices in 2015.

2. American shale. By the end of 2014, the U.S. was producing more than 9 million barrels of oil per day, an 80 percent increase from 2007. That output went a long way to creating a glut of oil, which helped send oil prices to the dumps in 2014. Having collectively shot themselves in the foot, the big question is how affected U.S. drillers will be by sub-$60 WTI. Rig counts continue to fall, spending is being slashed, but output has so far been stable. Whether the industry can maintain output given today’s prices or production begins to fall will have an enormous impact on international supplies, and as a result, prices.
2. 美国页岩油。截至2014年底,美国页岩油日产量已经超过900万桶,比2007年增加了80%。这些页岩油是造成石油供给过剩的主要力量,而供过于求是2014年油价暴跌的诱因之一。总的来说,美国页岩油开采公司都搬起石头砸了自己的脚,但关键在于,西德州轻质低硫原油(WTI)价格跌破60美元对它们有何影响?页岩油钻机数量不断减少,相关开支也遭到削减,然而到目前为止,美国页岩油产量依然稳定。按照当前油价,这个行业能否维持产出水平,或者说美国页岩油产量会不会减少将对国际市场供应乃至油价产生重大影响。

3. Elasticity of Demand.The cure for low prices is low prices. That cliché can be applied to both the supply and demand side of the equation. Will oil selling at fire sale prices spur renewed demand? In some countries where oil is more regulated, low prices may not trickle down to the retail level. Countries like Indonesia are scrapping subsidies, which will be a boon to state coffers but will diminish the benefits to consumers. However, in the U.S., gasoline prices are now below $2.40 per gallon, more than 35 percent down from mid-2014. That has led to an uptick in gasoline consumption. In the waning days of 2014, the U.S. consumed gasoline at the highest daily rate since 2007. Low prices could spark higher demand, which in turn could send oil prices back up.
3. 需求弹性。解决价格低迷的方法就是低价。这是老生常谈,而且适用于供需两个方面。超低的原油价格会刺激需求复苏吗?某些国家对石油市场控制较严,低油价可能不会延伸到零售领域。印尼等国已经取消成品油补贴,这有利于国家财政,但消费者得到的实惠将减少。不过,美国汽油价格已跌破每加仑2.40美元,与2014年中期相比,降幅超过了35%。而此番降价已带动汽油消费的攀升。2014年底,美国汽油日消费量创2007年以来新高。低价可以提升需求,而需求的增长则可带动油价反弹。

4. OPEC’s Next Move.OPEC deserves a lot of credit (or blame) for the remarkable downturn in oil prices last year. While many pundits have declared OPEC irrelevant after their decision to leave output unchanged, the mere fact that oil prices crashed after the cartel’s November meeting demonstrates just how influential they are over price swings. For now OPEC – or, more accurately, Saudi Arabia – has stood firm in its insistence not to cut production quotas. Whether that remains true through 2015 is up in the air.
4. 欧佩克的下一步行动。说到去年的油价暴跌,石油输出国组织(OPEC)起了很大作用(或者说要承担很大责任)。虽然许多评论人士都说欧佩克保持原油产量不变无关紧要,然而,仅油价在该组织11月份会议过后出现暴跌这一事实便充分证明了该组织对油价走势的影响力。目前,欧佩克——更确切地说是沙特——仍在坚持己见,毫无下调生产配额的迹象。2015年这一情况是否会得以延续,仍有待观察。

5. Geopolitical flashpoints.In the not too distant past, a small supply disruption would send oil prices skyward. In early 2014, for example, violence in Libya blocked oil exports, contributing to a rise in oil prices. In Iraq, ISIS overran parts of the country and oil prices shot up on fears of supply outages. But since then, geopolitical flashpoints have had much less of an effect on the price of crude. During the last few weeks of 2014, violence flared up again in Libya. But after a brief increase in prices, the markets shrugged off the event. Nevertheless, history has demonstrated time and again that geopolitical crises are some of the most powerful short-term movers of oil prices.
5. 地缘政治事件。不久之前,石油供应稍有差池,油价就会飙升。比如说2014年初,利比亚内乱造成该国石油出口中断,油价应声上涨。在伊拉克, 极端组织ISIS领了部分地区,石油供应中断的顾虑也造成油价急剧攀升。然而,自此之后,地缘政治事件对油价的影响大为减弱。2014年最后几周,利比亚再现战事。但市场仅在油价短暂上扬后便把这一问题抛诸脑后。不过,历史一再证明,地缘政治危机是对油价影响最大的短期因素之一。(财富中文网)

This post originally appeared on OilPrice.com.

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