The trend in international oil prices has been less than robust in early 2014 but firmer than fundamentals might have suggested. Once again, the explanation is geopolitical developments, with Ukraine very much to the fore of late (see pg 6). The Ukraine crisis, however, is unlikely to intensify to the extent necessary to disrupt Russian exports. Neither Russia nor the west could afford such a cataclysmic event, although it is possible that a low-level crisis over Ukraine lingers for some time. We continue to believe that the medium-term outlook is bearish for oil, reflecting burgeoning non-OPEC supplies, the upward trend in Iraq production and likely modest demand growth. A key area of medium-term uncertainty relates to the response of OPEC to rising non-OPEC and Iraqi output.