With stimulus effect over, analysts see cheaper oil
London, September 27, 2012
Slowing global economic growth and receding worries over a loss of Middle East supply are likely to bring lower oil prices for the rest of this year and in 2013, a Reuters poll shows.
Hopes that economic stimulus measures and new rounds of monetary easing by the world's big central banks would boost asset prices have also faded and analysts now expect a period of relative stability for oil prices.
A Reuters monthly poll of 32 analysts forecast North Sea Brent crude would average $109.90 per barrel this year, up just 40 cents from last month's poll and $2.10 below its average so far this year.
For 2013, Brent was seen averaging $106.90 a barrel, a fall of 30 cents from the estimate in Reuters' August oil price poll.
"We believe that both Brent and WTI are likely to experience further weakness in the weeks/months/quarters ahead," said Chris Tevere, a strategist at GAIN Capital.
"Our overriding outlook continues to foresee further global growth concerns which would have a downward impact on demand."
Societe Generale oil analyst Michael Wittner said the announcement of a third round of US bond purchases by the Federal Reserve, also known as quantitative easing or QE3, had not given the market as much support as expected.
"The medium and long-term impact of QE3 as an oil market price driver is limited. Even in the short-term, QE3 is mostly priced in already," Wittner said.
Only four of 31 analysts expected Brent crude to average less than $100 in 2013, and six of 25 analysts were expecting the same in 2014.
"We don't expect QE3 to have much impact on oil prices over any horizon. The clue is partly in the name - this is the third round of QE and the bulk of the benefits from large-scale asset purchases have already been achieved," said Capital Economics analyst Julian Jessop, who expects Brent to average $85 both in 2013 and 2014.
With QE3 a reality, the guessing game has ended, and the oil market is back focusing on fundamentals - global growth and its effect on oil demand, supply issues, geopolitical risks.
"There is enough supply, the market is well supported, and crude stocks, especially in the United States, are at elevated levels," said LBBW analyst Frank Klumpp, who sees Brent averaging $110 this year and $105 in 2013.
"Furthermore, we believe that this year, the geopolitical risk premium will recede due to our opinion of a low probability of a military conflict with Iran."
Only three of 31 analysts saw Brent averaging more than $120 in 2013 and only four of 25 analysts expected it over that level in 2014.
Barclays has the highest Brent price forecast in the poll for 2013 and 2014, with $125 and $130, respectively. Raymond James has the lowest forecasts for 2013 at $80 and Capital Economics has the lowest for 2014 at $85.
US crude is seen averaging $95.30 in 2012, $98.20 in 2013 and $100.7 in 2014. – Reuters