As sudden oil supply disruptions are offset by faltering demand growth, oil prices are expected to hold steady and near their current levels through the rest of this year, the monthly Reuters survey of 53 analysts and economists showed on Monday.
The experts see Brent Crude prices averaging US$65.19 a barrel this year, essentially flat compared to the US$65.02 per barrel estimate in last month’s poll. So far this year, Brent Crude prices have averaged US$64.76 a barrel.
WTI Crude prices are expected to average US$57.96 a barrel in 2019, only slightly up from the US$57.90 projection from the end-August Reuters poll. So far in 2019, WTI Crude has averaged US$57.11 a barrel.
In last month’s poll, analysts slashed their forecasts for WTI Crude prices this year to the lowest outlook since January 2018 and estimates for Brent Crude to the lowest average forecast since March 2018, on the back of the protracted U.S.-China trade dispute and slowing economies and oil demand growth.
In this month’s poll, the experts acknowledged that sudden supply disruptions—like the one following the attacks on Saudi oil infrastructure which knocked 5 percent of global oil supply offline—could lead to temporary spikes, but said that deteriorating fundamentals with demand faltering and non-OPEC supply growing would prevent those spikes from becoming sustainable. Related: Banks See Oil Prices Staying Low Despite Attacks On Saudi Oil
Concerns about faltering oil demand and expectations of rising U.S. crude oil exports trump fears of supply shortage after the attacks on Saudi oil, and have investment banks predicting that oil prices will not move much higher in the fourth quarter, a poll of 13 major investment banks by The Wall Street Journal showed last week.
Meanwhile, early on Monday oil prices were headed for a quarterly loss—the worst quarter for oil since the fourth quarter of 2018, as fears of deteriorating demand and slowing economic growth eclipsed the temporary price spike the day after the attacks on Saudi oil.
At 09:15 a.m. EDT on Monday, WTI Crude was down 1.45 percent at US$55.10, and Brent Crude was trading down 1.25 percent at US$60.28.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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A continuation of the trade war will continue to depress the global demand for oil and prices by augmenting an already existing glut in the market thereby acting as a strong bearish influence on the market. In such a scenario, oil prices could range from $60-$65 a barrel in the fourth quarter of 2019.
An emerging Bullish factor is the timetable for the repairs of the damaged Saudi oil facilities. Saudi Arabia has been very economical with the truth when assuring the global oil market that full capacity is back online. While it is true that Saudi Arabia is able to meet obligations to its customers by drawing on its stored oil estimated at 130 million barrels (mb), that volume could be depleted totally in less than one month if repairs exceed a month. It is estimated by contractors and fabricators interviewed by the Wall Street Journal that repairs and manufacturing of equipment needed to replace the damaged ones could take months rather than weeks. In such a scenario, oil prices could be headed far above $80.
Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
International Oil Economist
Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London