Expected weak global economic growth would slow oil demand growth next year, keeping the average U.S. benchmark oil price at below $80 per barrel, according to the monthly Reuters poll in which analysts revised down their forecasts for 2024 from last month’s projections.
The price of the U.S. benchmark, WTI Crude, is expected to average $78.84 per barrel in 2024, the Reuters poll of 34 analysts and economists showed on Friday. This month’s consensus price forecast is revised down from November’s poll, in which the experts expected West Texas Intermediate to average $80.50 a barrel next year.
Brent Crude prices are now expected to average $82.56 per barrel next year, down from the $84.43 consensus forecast in last month’s poll.
In the December survey, only one of 34 contributors said they expected the average Brent Crude prices to be above $90 per barrel in 2024.
This year, the price of Brent Crude has averaged $82.17 per barrel.
Early on Friday, the front-month Brent Crude contract was trading slightly higher on the day on the last trading day of the year. Brent is set to end 2023 below the $80 per barrel mark, falling by around 10% this year compared to 2022—the first annual decline in oil prices since 2020, when the pandemic crushed oil demand.
This year, concerns about economies and oil demand combined with higher-than-expected non-OPEC+ supply growth to depress oil prices, which have largely shrugged off the OPEC+ supply cuts and the Hamas-Israel war.
But next year, geopolitical flare-ups could provide support to oil prices with the potential of increased volatility, according to the respondents in the Reuters poll this month.
But demand growth may be weaker, some of them said.
“From the demand side we do not expect much impetus in the months to come,” Thomas Wybierek, an analyst at NORD Landbk, told Reuters.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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