Russia Planning for the Possibility Oil Drops as Low as $25 Next Year

Might actually happen with another great recession looming, but Russia plans to survive anyway which the US shale, and perhaps even the Saudis, surely will not

Russia is considering the notion that oil prices may be as low as $25 per barrel in 2020, the country’s central bank said in its new forecast published on Monday, as cited by Reuters.

Russia’s Central Bank has forecast in its macroeconomic forecast that oil could possibly hit that low due to falling demand for oil and oil products worldwide, as well as from disappointed global economic growth.

The doom and gloom scenario was just one proposed by the bank. If that risk scenario actually materializes, Russia’s inflation could increase to 7% or 8% next year, on the back of falling gross domestic product to 1.5%– 2%.

Russia is perhaps uniquely positioned to withstand low oil prices, although $25 per barrel is pretty bleak.

One of the reasons why Russia is more impervious to low oil prices compared to its competition is that its currency weakens when oil prices fall. This provides some type of a cushion—at least to some extent—for its lower oil revenues. Russian oil companies can pay their expenses in this weaker ruble, but still rakes in US dollars for its oil exports. Further allowing it to withstand lower prices, are that Russia’s oil company’s taxes are designed to be less as oil prices fall.

So much so is Russia’s ability to adapt to lower oil prices, that it actually struggles with higher oil prices, which dent demand for its oil. Russia’s budget for 2019 was based on $40 oil. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia needs $80—some say even $85—per barrel.

In August, Russia said its 2019 budget breakeven was at a Urals price of $49.20—the lowest breakeven in more than a decade.  This has Russia and Saudi Arabia—colleagues in the current production quotas designed to rebalance the market—at odds, and likely working toward perhaps different goals.


  1. Jesus says

    Next recession and economic slowdown will last longer since the central banks have negative or very low interest rates, hence not enough latitude to create some economic stimulus, saudis and the US frackers are going bleed and become mired in deeper debt or bankruptcy. Saudi reserves might diminish by a few hundred billions.

    1. BillA says

      one can consider small recurring cycles (the past is the best predictor of the future), until the baseline starts to shift; who will go broke first? – Argentina is merely first

  2. BillA says

    (at least) a couple of other factors that should be considered; a current article on ZH “The Meaning Of The Iran-China Deal” for another influence and the effect of the huge coming increase in LNG production.
    Prudent to consider the lower end, strategic considerations as well.

  3. CHUCKMAN says

    A couple of very good points.

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