Oil company dividends to fall again this year - but their betting on a near-term rebound in Brent crude prices

 
Jessica Morris
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Oil companies are betting on a near-term rebound in oil prices (Source: Getty)

Dividends from large oil and gas companies will fall again this year, however this is still less than the fall in oil prices, suggesting they're betting on a near-term rebound in oil prices.

Markit now expects global dividends from large oil and gas companies to fall by nine per cent to $147bn in 2016.

When coupled with last year's fall, it means dividends in 2016 will be 22 per cent on their 2014 peak.

Oil prices have fallen 70 per cent over the last 18 months to around $30 per barrel. This has forced oil companies to scale back or abandon projects, make deep job cuts and slash dividends.

Markit said oil companies' willingness to hold onto dividends, despite falling oil prices, suggests they are betting on a near-term rebound in oil prices.

"These sustained falls in dividend payments have been far less pronounced than the collapse in crude," it said.

"The surging pay-out ratios and yields, as well as the lack of dividend declines, may indicate that oil majors are adopting the 'sit and wait' strategy in anticipation of a near term rebound in oil prices."

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