GO
Loading...

Biggest Tax Relief for Western World? Falling Oil Prices

Rosanne Olson | The Image Bank | Getty Images

Oil prices could fall by more than $10 per barrel in 2013, boosting gross domestic product across the Western world, according to Henry Dixon, a founding member of investment firm Matterley.

"The message we are getting from the futures market is that oil should be $10 to $15 lower," Dixon told CNBC.

"I think political tensions in Iran, and probably in Syria, will keep it a little higher. If we were to get $10 off the oil price, it broadly equates to about a 1 percent GDP surprise in the Western world."

Light crude oil traded at $87.81 on Tuesday, having closed the previous session at $87.20. Prices are down 11.2 percent since the start of the year.

(Read More: Gas Prices Hit New 2012 Low)

Dixon said the falling price of oil was due to an increase in oil finds outside of OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries), coupled with decreasing demand.

"We see falling U.S. demand and rising supply. We see miles driven in the U.S. falling, as there is a modal shift to the cities."

He added: "I can envisage a scenario where the biggest 40-year tax on the West, i.e. elevated oils since the mid-70s, could be coming to an end."

Earlier on Tuesday, Steen Jakobsen, chief economist at Saxo Bank, told CNBC the "revolution" in shale gas in the U.S. could push WTI (West Texas Intermediate) crude down to $50.

(Read More: Is 2013 the Year of $50 Oil and $1,200 Gold?)

Sabine Schels, senior director and global commodity strategist at BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research, agreed.

"We have a unique situation in that the U.S. is producing way more oil than anyone thought they would. That will be a downward pressure, along with slowing global growth," Schels told CNBC.

"We could have energy costs go down net-net for consumers, and that is what the world needs right now," he added.

However, Schels warned that gains to the Western world could be accompanied by increased geopolitical tension elsewhere.

"The political danger here is that the Saudis need $85-90 a barrel to keep their balance in check, so this could have huge implications for the Middle East."

Dixon added that boosts to the U.K. economy in 2013 will come not only from falling oil prices, but also from increased capital investment and higher disposable income.

"Our Chancellor of the Exchequer has done a good job with raising the tax threshold in the U.K. That means for the first year in five, U.K. disposable income will be up, not down," Dixon said. The minimum threshold for paying income tax in the U.K. has risen from 6,475 pounds ($10,519) to 8,105 pounds under the current finance minister George Osborne.

Dixon said: "I think the other thing the Chancellor did a very good job of in the Budget was to raise capital allowances by a factor of 10."

In his Autumn Budget, Osborne increased the Annual Investment Allowance (a capital allowance offering 100 percent tax relief on qualifying expenditure) from 25,000 pounds to 250,000 pounds, having previously cut it from 100,000 pounds.

The U.K. has enjoyed a respite from falling GDP in recent months, but the country's independent forecasting body, the Office of Budget Responsibility, forecasts a 0.1 percent decline for the economy in the fourth quarter 2012, compared to the previous quarter.

- By CNBC's Katy Barnato

Contact Oil and Gas

  • CNBC NEWSLETTERS

    Get the best of CNBC in your inbox

    › Learn More