Crude is costing some developing countries almost $150 a barrel in real terms as currencies from the rupee to the rand tumble, signaling global oil demand is poised to weaken, according to Petromatrix GmbH.
Brent prices converted into India’s rupee, South Africa’s rand, Turkey’s lira and Brazil’s real are close to levels reached in mid-2008, when crude climbed to a record, the Zug, Switzerland-based researcher said. The burden is canceling any stimulus for demand in these countries that might have arisen from this year’s slump in the oil price, and represents a “bearish flag” for consumption, Petromatrix estimates.
“Brent is not cheap by any standards for emerging markets,” Olivier Jakob, Petromatrix’s managing director, said today by phone. “For many emerging markets the price of Brent in local currency is currently as bad as the $147 of 2008.”
India’s rupee tumbled to a record 58.9850 per dollar today amid slowing growth in Asia’s third-biggest economy, while South Africa’s rand fell to a four-year low after mining output in Africa’s largest economy unexpectedly shrank. Brazil’s real touched its weakest level in four years yesterday, at 2.1471 per dollar. Turkey’s lira slumped by 1.2 percent yesterday, the most since May 2012, amid protests against the government led by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
This trend of weakening currencies has a “significant impact” on prices in those nations, posing a “bearish flag that is getting bigger by the day for the world’s oil demand growth,” Jakob said.
India, Brazil, Turkey and South Africa collectively used an average of 7.4 million barrels of oil a day in 2011, or 8 percent of the global total, according to BP Plc’s annual Statistical Review of World Energy, published last June. Brent has lost about 8 percent on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange this year, trading today at $102 a barrel. The grade surged to a peak of $147.50 on July 11, 2008.