Reuters: Oil prices to remain stable this year

Reuters: Oil prices to remain stable this year
Saudi Aramco's Manifa oilfield. (Photo credit to Reuters)

Due to factors including Middle East tensionsand global economic slowdown, oil prices to remain stable this year.

Oil prices are likely to remain stable thisyear as recent turmoil has failed to raise prices in a market where demand isweak and warnings of a global economic slowdown mount, a Reuters survey showedon Monday.

The survey, which included 53 economists andanalysts, predicts Brent crude will average $65.19 a barrel in 2019, littlechanged from $65.02 in last month's forecast. However, it is slightly higherthan the average price of Brent crude since the beginning of the year at $64.76a barrel.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futuresare expected to average $57.96 a barrel, compared with $57.90 last month. Theaverage price of US crude since the beginning of the year was $57.11 a barrel.

"The oil market is facing tough times… Therecent attack on two oil facilities in Saudi Arabia has made clear the risks tocrude supplies, which is why price jumps could happen anytime in the short term" said Carsten Fritsch, senior commodities analyst at Commerzbank.

"On the other hand, the fundamentals inthe oil market are deteriorating. Demand growth is weakening, non-OPEC oilsupplies are rising dramatically, and the commitment to production by OPEC andits allies has receded recently, so we don't see the recent price jump beingsustainable.

Oil prices posted their biggest one-day jump in30 years, after an attack on two Saudi Aramco facilities earlier this monthhalted supplies of half of the world's top crude exporter.

The attack caused haze in the market andincreased tensions in a volatile region.

"Ultimately, the impact of drone attackson oil prices depends on two key factors: how long it will take for SaudiArabia to restore the damaged facilities to work and whether there will beother direct attacks," said Calin Birch, an analyst with the EconomistIntelligence Unit.

Despite the attack, most analysts said OPECcould continue to cut production until the end of next year and ruled outeasing sanctions on Iran and Venezuela soon.

Although there is enough spare capacity to makeup for production shortfalls, analysts said the trade dispute between theUnited States and China and increased output from non-OPEC countries will curboil prices in the long run.

Analysts expect global oil demand to growbetween 0.9mn and 1.3mn bpd in 2019 and 0.8mn to 1.5mn bpd next year.

The US Energy Information Administration cutits forecast for global oil demand growth in September for eight consecutivemonths to 0.89mn bpd.

On the supply side, respondents said non-OPECproduction would continue to rise as the United States dominated global supplygrowth, amid modest increases from Brazil, Norway and Mexico.

"If Trump remains the front-runner, USproduction is expected to continue rising to new record highs, likely to exceed13.5mn bpd, policies will remain unchanged, and Trump's energy-supportingpolicies will continue to be greatly enhanced till the United States becomesthe world's largest oil exporter" said Edward Moya, chief market analystat OAND.

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