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Watch: Market Movers Europe, May 14-18: Oil market focusing on Middle East tensions; key EU announcement on carbon market due

Geopolitical tensions in the Middle East are likely to loom large in the oil market this week. Iran is set to mount a diplomatic fight-back following the US decision to re-impose sanctions on it.


The EU Emissions Trading System is back in the spotlight, with carbon prices climbing to a fresh seven-year high, with the European Commission expected to publish an updated figure for the cumulative surplus of carbon allowances.


Elsewhere, in the North Sea oil market, traders of Dated Brent will be watching closely this week whether new grade Troll will continue to price lower than Brent, Forties, Oseberg and Ekofisk.


In petrochemicals, demand for plastics is expected to pick up next week, in line with seasonal patterns. Increased beverage sales during the summer months are keeping plastics producers hopeful of higher prices, but high run rates have caused European inventories to swell.


Finally, in London, Thursday, industry leaders from around the metals world will gather for the sixth annual S&P Global Platts Global Metals Awards. Join our conversations on Twitter - use #PlattsMM and connect with us.

View Full Transcript

Video Transcript


In this week’s Market Movers: The carbon market awaits an EU announcement as emissions prices climb; the plastics market looks forward to summer; and the metals world readies itself for a big night.


But first: geopolitical tensions in the Middle East are likely to loom large in the oil market this week. Iran is set to mount a diplomatic fight-back following the US decision to re-impose sanctions on it. Iran is OPEC's third-largest oil producer. As part of the effort, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is due to visit Beijing, Brussels, and Moscow. The US decision caused ICE Brent crude futures to surge to over $77 a barrel last week, their highest since 2014.


Meanwhile, in Iraq, general election results due shortly could prompt a change of oil minister. Political uncertainty could create new hurdles for energy projects that span upstream oil and gas, export infrastructure and the refining sector.


Moving from Baghdad to Brussels, the EU Emissions Trading System is back in the spotlight, with carbon prices climbing to a fresh seven-year high. The European Commission is expected to publish an updated figure for the cumulative surplus of carbon allowances on Monday or Tuesday this week. The figures will be closely watched by the market, as they will be used to determine the volume of allowances to be cut from auctions in January to August 2019. It’s the first time the market will have a definitive figure for cuts designed to ease the oversupply of allowances.


And talking of firsts, in the North Sea oil market, traders of Dated Brent will be watching closely this week whether new grade Troll will continue to price lower than Brent, Forties, Oseberg and Ekofisk. Troll, which became part of the Dated Brent assessment at the start of this year, usually prices above the other four grades. But, as the chart shows, last week’s strong demand for the four more established grades have pushed them above Troll.


In petrochemicals, demand for plastics is expected to pick up next week, in line with seasonal patterns. Increased beverage sales during the summer months are keeping plastics producers hopeful of higher prices, but high run rates have caused European inventories to swell. PVC producers are usually able to raise prices during the second and third quarters because of the seasonal pick-up in the construction industry.


In London this week on Thursday, industry leaders from around the metals world will gather for the sixth annual S&P Global Platts Global Metals Awards. The glitzy black-tie gala will see titans such as POSCO, Tata Steel, and Noranda among the competing finalists, in what has been another good year for the sector, despite the headwinds of US tariffs. We look forward to seeing you there.


Finally, please take a few moments this week to check out S&P Global Platts’ new battery-grade lithium carbonate assessments. You can view them in our Metals Daily newsletter or on our Platts Metals Alert Page 8888. Please share any feedback with us at battery_metals@spglobal.com.


Thank you for kicking your Monday off with us, and have a great week ahead.