EU WILL LOSE
Cheap natural gas has delivered a significant boost to US manufacturing exports, the International Monetary Fund has found.
Advances in shale rock drilling have led to a sharp rebound in US gas production, driving prices in the US to a steep discount to markets in Europe and Asia. US gas sells for $4 per million British thermal units, compared with $10 in Europe and close to $18 in Asia.
The price gap has led to a 6 per cent average increase in US manufactured product exports, the IMF wrote in its twice-yearly World Economic Outlook.
While energy costs generally represent a relatively small share of total input costs, "the lower natural gas price in the United States, which is likely to persist, has had a noticeable effect on US energy-intensive manufacturing exports," the IMF report said.
Lower prices for natural gas favour energy- and gas-intensive industries, such as steelmaking, oil refining, and nitrogen fertiliser production. The International Energy Agency has previously warned that Europe will lose a third of its share of global energy-intensive exports over the next two decades because its energy prices will remain stubbornly higher than those in the US.
According to the IMF, a 10 per cent fall in the relative price of US gas leads to an improvement in US industrial production relative to Europe of roughly 0.7 per cent after 1½ years.
"As more countries exploit new sources of natural gas, not only is the geography of trade in energy products likely to continue to change, but the geography of manufacturing exports is likely to change as well," the IMF said.
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REUTERS - Brent crude futures LCOc1 were down 72 cents at $61.49 per barrel at 1020 GMT, having fallen by 1.5 percent on Tuesday, its largest one-day drop in a month. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 was at $55.12 per barrel, down 58 cents.
BLOOMBERG - Prices dropped during the session as the International Energy Agency said the recent recovery in oil prices, coupled with milder-than-normal winter weather, is slowing demand growth. The worsening outlook for consumption dampened some of the enthusiasm that OPEC and its allies will extend supply curbs.
Global energy needs rise more slowly than in the past but still expand by 30% between today and 2040. This is the equivalent of adding another China and India to today’s global demand.
Product exports have grown significantly over the past several years and are expected to continue to grow as Russian refineries add capacity to produce more high-quality products.