Take a breath, Canada.
The worst is over when it comes to oil prices, according to the people who helped to drag them down in the first place.
Saudi Oil Minister Khalid Al-Falih told Bloomberg TV on Thursday that "the worst is clearly behind us," and that he is satisfied with how oil prices have trended over the past few months.
— Bloomberg TV (@BloombergTV) June 2, 2016
His comments came as OPEC countries met in Vienna for a summit. Members again failed to agree on a production cap and, hopefully, stem a drop in oil prices that has persisted for two years.
Al-Falih said Saudi Arabia won't "shock the market in any way" by increasing oil production, and now members are optimistic that oil prices could rise again later this year, according to The Telegraph.
Iraqi Deputy Oil Minister Fayadh al-Nema projects that prices could rise to anywhere between $55 and $65 per barrel in the second half of 2016. United Arab Emirates Oil Minister Suhail bin Mohammed al-Mazroui also sees them going up.
Khalid Al-Falih, Saudi Arabia's minister of energy and industry, looks on ahead of the 169th Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meeting in Vienna, Austria, on June 2. (Photo: Akos Stiller/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Oil prices have risen to about $50 per barrel after dropping below $30 earlier this year.
Recent increases have been driven largely by Canadian oil production coming offline due to the Fort McMurray, Alta. wildfire, as well as disruption in Nigeria, according to Reuters.
West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose 0.3 per cent on Thursday as stockpiles of the product in the U.S. helped to offset negative effects from the unsuccessful OPEC meeting.
Recovering oil prices are expected to boost the value of the Canadian dollar later this year.
But the loonie could also be dragged down by slow economic growth and a possible hike in the U.S. interest rate in the short term, Reuters reported.
"The Canadian dollar ... is likely to soften over the medium term as the Federal Reserve does actually resume that rate hike cycle," Wells Fargo head of currency strategy Nick Bennenbroek told the news agency.
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More people are dying in road accidents, as falling oil costs translate into cheaper prices at the pump - increasing the number of journeys. "A $2 drop in gasoline price can translate into about 9,000 road fatalities a year in the US," sociology professor Guangqing Chi said last month. Chi told The Huffington Post that it typically takes almost a year for drivers to adopt new driving habits in response to changes in gas prices. Last year, US road deaths rose by 9.3% in the first six months of 2015. In the UK, while road deaths have fallen almost every year since 2004, provisional data suggests that fatalities increased in 2015 by 3%, alongside a 2.2% increase in traffic. Research has yet to reveal a link between these in the UK.
Pirates are unlikely victims of the global reduction in oil prices. Piracy in West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea is now at its lowest level since 2002. Speaking to Bloomberg, Florentina Adenike Ukonga, executive secretary of the Gulf of Guinea Commission, said: “With oil at a low bottom price of below $30 per barrel, piracy is no longer such a profitable business as it was when prices hit $106 a barrel a few years ago.” Attacks on oil transported declined by around a third last year, according to a report. Dyrad Maritime found sea crime figures for 2015 "painted a picture of optimism" - although the threat to vessels not carrying oil remains high.
Falling oil prices have translated into rock-bottom "bunker" fuel costs for shipping firms - reducing their incentive to take economical shortcuts. Rather than use routes via the Suez Canal, huge container ships are returning to ports in Asia via the "long way around" the southern cape of Africa. As prices tumble, burning more fuel is cheaper than paying passage rates through the waterway. For one-way passage, an oil transporter can pay as much as $325,000 (2008) to travel through the Suez canal. "For many services it is cheaper to sail south of Africa on the [return journey] than to use the canal routings,” SeaIntel, a shipping monitor, said.
Thousands of oil workers have been sacked as a result of dwindling oil prices. In the UK alone, 70,000 oil-related jobs are feared to have been lost since the price war began 12 months ago. Last month, oil giant BP shed 3,000 jobs on top of previously announced redundancies. An estimated 250,000 jobs have been lost across the oil industry as a whole worldwide.
The plunging oil price has added to turmoil on stock markets the world over, affecting many of the world's biggest pension funds. According to Reuters, shares fell sharply this week as oil prices dropped after Saudi Arabia effectively ruled out reducing the output of oil by its producers. Oil prices, lowered by increased production, are one of a number of factors worrying investors. The FTSE 100 index of Britain's biggest traded companies was down 15.38% on a year ago as of Wednesday. The index holds millions of Brit's pension pots. "The markets are really worried that we are missing something here, that the global slowdown may be more significant than we are recognizing and that slowdown could be causing oil prices to drop, and commodities prices in general," Tracie McMillion of Wells Fargo Private Bank told Reuters.
Perhaps the most surprising effect of diving oil prices has been that demand hasn't risen significantly. Despite costs plunging, European economies remain weak, China is decelerating and growing energy efficiencies mean vehicles need less fuel. So the overall effect has been a flatlining of demand, rather than an increase, according to PwC (PDF).
And despite all of this, airfares for passengers flying in and out of Britain jumped 46% from November to December 2015, the Office of National Statistics found. The increase in fares was the highest since 2002. The "highly variable" changes were a result of increased consumer demand for air travel, the ONS said. In America, air passengers were more likely to benefit from tumbling costs - airfares there were lower throughout most of last year.