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Key Words: Oil market is ‘underestimating’ this key factor that may lift oil prices above $140 this year, says a top hedge fund manager

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“‘I think oil will go upwards of $140 a barrel once Asia fully reopens, assuming there will be no more lockdowns.’”

— Pierre Andurand, Andurand Capital

That’s hedge fund manager Pierre Andurand, who said in an interview with Bloomberg that oil prices could top $140 a barrel this year if Asian economies see a full reopening.

He said he believes oil will “go upwards of $140 a barrel once Asia fully reopens, assuming there will be no more lockdowns,” Bloomberg reported on Friday. Andurand was referring to the waves of lockdowns and travel restrictions that have been in response to the COVID-19 pandemic since 2020. The market is “underestimating the scale of the demand boost that it will bring.”

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That price level would top last year’s intraday peak for global oil benchmark Brent crude
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which traded as high as $139.13 on March 7, according to Dow Jones Market Data. The peak for prices, which marked the highest intraday level since July 16, 2008, followed Russia’s late February invasion of Ukraine, which raised risks to global oil supplies.

In Friday dealings, front-month March Brent crude traded at $79.59 a barrel, up 90 cents, or 1.1%, for the session, with prices poised for a weekly loss of more than 7%.

Oil demand could grow by more than 4 million barrels a day, or about 4%, this year, said Andurand.

In a December report, the International Energy Agency said it was expecting total oil demand of 99.9 million barrels a day for 2022 and 101.6 million barrels a day for 2023, which would imply an increase of 1.7 million barrels for this year.

Andurand told Bloomberg that jet demand for fuel is still 2.5 million barrels a day below 2019 levels because China has not reopened yet, and other Asian countries have only just started reopening.

In a Dec. 29 Twitter thread, he said global crude-oil demand could see a bigger surge than traders and analysts have penciled in for 2023 as China’s economy fully opens and the world puts the COVID-19 pandemic behind it.

At the time, he tweeted that if demand came “back to trend in 2023,” that would lead to demand growth of 4.6 million barrels a day versus 2022. But he also said that a full return to the trend might not be in the cards, citing the increasing adoptions of electric vehicles as the main reason.

In March of last year, Andurand was especially bullish on oil, telling the Odd Lots podcast from Bloomberg that prices could reach $200. Russia’s oil won’t be available to global markets for some time, even if the country can reach a peace deal with Ukraine, he said at the time.

Andurand’s main commodities fund, the Andurand Commodities Discretionary Enhanced Fund returned roughly 59% last year, after gains as high as 160% during the year, according to Bloomberg .

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