A disorderly break-up of the euro zone could push Brent crude prices to as low as $60 a barrel amid the resulting sharp European recession and negative global economic consequences, Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAC) said Friday.
"If policy makers were unable to stem the contagion following Greece's exit from the euro, it could potentially lead to a chain reaction where other countries have few options but to opt out of the currency union as well," the bank said in a research note.
In the event of the disorderly broad euro zone break-up, oil demand in developed European economies could drop by 2 million barrels a day if the region's economy shrinks by 10%, the bank said.
"This could create a large demand gap in global oil balances resulting in oil prices falling sharply," it added.
But if Greece is the only country to leave the euro zone, Brent could fall to $80 a barrel, while the benchmark could drop to $100 a barrel if the possibility of Greece leaving the euro is explored but does not materialize, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said.
"Finally, if Greece is able to renegotiate its bailout package successfully and stays in the euro, Brent oil prices could rebound to $120 a barrel," the bank adds.
Thursday, the bank said it sees Brent crude averaging $118 a barrel this year and $120 a barrel in 2013, although another round of monetary easing in Europe could push prices as high as $140 a barrel over the next 12 months.
At 1006 GMT ICE July Brent was trading down 54 cents, or 0.5%, at $106.95 a barrel.
-By Konstantin Rozhnov, Dow Jones Newswires; +44 207 842 9956; [email protected]