Big Oil Consumers Start to Lock-in Prices as Brent Surges to $80

Big Oil Consumers Start to Lock-in Prices as Brent Surges to $80

The rise in oil prices to $80 a barrel is starting to cause concern across boardrooms, with some big industrial consumers, including airlines and shipping companies, starting to buy more insurance against rising energy prices.

The increase in so-called discretionary consumer oil hedging, after a three-year period of low prices, is still relatively incipient, but has picked up over the last couple of weeks, according to traders, bankers and consultants familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified discussing private deals.

“Consumers are hedging, which is supporting the back end of the Brent curve,” says Thibaut Remoundos, founder of London-based Commodities Trading Corporation Ltd. “They will add to their hedges on price weakness.”

The increase in hedging suggests that oil prices are flirting with a pain threshold for consumers, a potentially ominous sign for OPEC, which always keeps a watchful eye on demand growth. Michael O’Leary, the chief executive officer of top European airline Ryanair Holdings Plc, warned this week rising jet fuel prices were hurting his company and its peers. Read More

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